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Prince Papa Jan
BEYOND THE THRILL
Erotic thriller – multi-novel
Series: “Night of Eroticism and Madness” No 2
© Prince Papa Jan – author 2001
©Art Papa Jan 20013 – Publishing House
© Prince Papa Jan – cover design
Kostadin Kutryanov – designer
Andrei Todorov – translator into English
ISBN: 954 8840-01-4
All rights of publication, translation and distribtuion in Bulgaria and abroad of this book are the property of the author and the publishing house Art Papa Jan – 20013
Irina and I were in a diving bell. We were sinking into the abyss…
“Just as we’re sinking into our abyss!” I told her, tenderly caressing her thigh. She dipped her foot into the water.
“Just as we’re sinking into our abyss. The abyss of passion and sin, the abyss of spiritual desolation.The death of the spirit and the rebirth of the body. Embrace and oblivion. We are sinking into the abyss and into this embrace. I wonder how much oxygen the diving bell contains.”
“Enough for us to make love. Till we suffocate…”
I kept kissing her breasts. She was slowly turning on. She was sinking into an abyss of her own where my tenderness could not reach her. My lips burned with mad passion, pouring out all their energy and the moment came when my tenderness reached the bottom of her abyss.
“Go on! It’s such a pleasure! Go on kissing my breasts.I’m an almond now. The underwater almond of Atlantis…”
With increasing passion I kept kissing the almond blossom. The almond ambrosia went to my head and something was the matter with me. At one point I became horrified. We could no longer sink deeper and deeper. Oxygen would soon grow short. Weren’t we in the diving bell in which we dreamed to die?
But no! It was still too early.
We were inside the elevator, rather. The elevator which was going down into the abyss. The elevator which was bringing us down and down. The elevator on which we were riding for our fall. Our hands touched. An elevator going up… And then – a downfall.The ambrosia of the almond of the Atlantis made me dizzy but I could not take away my lips from the breasts which had started to turn on with lust and their dizzying properties were becoming ever more acute… It was not an alcoholic intoxication. Nor that of the Lunar Orgasm. She had indeed become an Atlantis almond tree and was taking me back to the age in which Atlantis had not yet sunk. As we kept falling down into darkness suddenly we were illuminated by a powerful radiance. We had wings like all inhabitants of Atlantis. We were flying to some destination. I realized that the clouds over Atlantis were of heavenly manna. Contact with them is beyond imagination. Irina had reached arousal already. With wide opened legs and lying on the cloud, she expected me to penetrate her. She was the same old Irina except for her aureate skin and purple hair. And much bigger than she used to be in our world. I was the selfsame Papa Jan except for a much more enormous penis and my skin was rough like the upper surface of a tongue and seemed to have no bones at all. I entwined myself around her. I penetrated ferociously between her open thighs.Not with my penis alone. I was trying to shove in the whole of me. To sink into the abyss where I might discover the next Atlantis… For centuries we made love. We altered our shapes. We were amoebae, amphibians, reptiles, spirits. We haunted each other. We lost our memories in our bodies. Had we not suffocated by now? Were we not in Paradise? When we recovered our wings we alighted upon the gilded dome of a fabulous castle. The world stretched before us: domes of exotic buildings amid endless green fields…
“Perhaps we suffocated in that diving bell and are now in Paradise,” said I somewhat sad about the world to which I would never return again.
It was strange! I was happy! Alone with Irina amid beautiful strangers. In a world bathed in the most beautiful colours the eye has never seen. A world which does not know the slavery of form. A world where you could dissolve into everything else and dissolve all else into yourself… Because I still cherished nostalgia for the other one. So mean in its limitations and so tormenting with its forms… Did I not really dream of that, exactly? The ubiquitous dissolvability of love. The Universal Dissolvability of everything into everything else. Why did I grieve for something I flew from and which I all the time fought? With painting-brush and with spirit. With my love for Irina and for beauty in general.
“We’re not in Paradise Papa Jan! We’re in Atlantis!”
“Aren’t we in the diving bell?”
“No! If we were, we would be dead!”
We embraced each other. In our kisses we dissolved eternity.She gently eased down on her back. I grabbed hold of her bent knees and with all the forms of the universe I penetrated into her. Her vagina absorbed them and ground them in delight and ecstasy. Her lips, glued to mine, gave back all she had felt… All colours dissolved, the signs of light lost their meaning! Then we began to understand them – they were somewhat different from their prior meaning to the senses and the semantics. It may have been a secret message in our own language and the alphabet we had once created, so that apart from loving we could understand our love. Poets and philosophers say that it is happiness when love cannot be understood. Its meaning is boundless. But we felt a desire to fathom it. “Don’t you really wish to understand what really moves you to desire my breast?”
“The colour!” I spontaneously answered. “Colour is the dressing of the form!It is IT I want to touch!”
“And every colour is different but apart from the ‘dressing of the form’… Tell me more…”
“More I don’t know! My eyes look for it; sometimes even also suffuse it, fertilize it, drench it, start living with it and through it but fail to understand it. The names already given to it are not its own in the language of my paintings…”
“Let us create our own alphabet of colours. With a bit of spiritual training from a sign, a colour, we’ll build a language only the two of us will understand and will correspond through pictures…”
It was a splendid idea. She was splendid that night. In the new colours which I saw in her because they already started to talk… And now it seems we were in a diving bell and dying while in fact transforming into colours which were already talking because we had taught them to:
“P” meant purple,
“W” – white,
“V” – violet,
“Y” – yellow,
“C” – cobalt,
“L” – lemon,
“N” – neon,
“O” – opal
“R” – rosy
“b” – blue
“T” – turquoise
“R” – red.
Our language became a pallette, an endless painting. At first our attempts to understand each other, exchanging painted letters, were unsuccessful. Little by little, gradually, as the sweetness is aroused in a girl’s breast, we came to understand our messages. Then, when we ourselves became colours and parts of the alphabet:
“I” meant Irina; “P” – Papa Jan. Only then did she manage to read the first message I had sent her:
“I love you insanely, sanely, wildly, humanly, I adore you without ceasing to love you, I fear you and for you, without ceasing to desire you, I am always empty when you are not in my arms all that gladdens me, moves me, embitters me, arouses me, lowers me, elevates me, each beat of my reviled heart, is a message of my colours to you which reads: ‘I love you and wish to make love to you! For ever!’ “
I have many such messages in my paintings. I’m not sure if some day they will be read out but I would never transalte them into the letters we use every day.These messages would in such a case lose a part of themselves. In the year 2013 I will produce a read-out of 20 013 messages inbuilt into 20 013 of my paintings. The rest:
Whoever has brains let them read them out in my paintings…
I stand at the shore, the shore of an unknown ocean, at the shore of that which has an end and that which has no beginning, at the metaphysical threshold at the start of that which is spiritual, unthinkable, intangible, that which cannot be interpreted and perceived by the senses, that which gives birth to the truth but cannot share it and gives it to us as a gift. I give a name to each wave. I whisper to it and slowly turn into a radiance. I lose my body and hover over the universe; I speak or rather I am silent in a language I do not understand but whose meaning I feel, whose meaning if all-embracing and devoid of contradictions, whose meaning is not in signs but in colours. A kind of poetry, incapable of being pelt out, a kind of poetry for which there is not way to be written down but can only be read by the spirit. I am here where time is its beginning, its course and its end. Where all dimensions are an endless revelation. Where I need not reflect but am reflection itself; but also existence itself.I am outside sentences, phrases and notions. I am on the throne of the universe which is nothing else but my own heart and my heart is the heart of all the rest. It is deprived of identity but feels the yearnings and thrills of all the rest. It has no identity but bears the super-individuality of reason. It has ne memory and possesses the memory of each existence. Describing the shore on which I stand is beyond me. I can yearn with it. I can share my yearnings with others who also yearn. I can feel through it and dissolve like it. I cannot enumerate the names of the waves or even describe the face of a single one of them. Each wave differs from the others and has an individuality of its own but all the rest of the waves feel through the single one. Each wave has a heart and soul, its caress of salt and freshness; its crash into the shore rocks , its memory and its love but each one is part of the sea and is owner of the entire sea and identifies with it.
These waves are my memories.
These waves are also your memories, Oh, seeking and yearning after beauty and experiencing it as love and adventure, drunk and merry with it and through it.
These waves are the memories of what we have not yet experienced and have not felt.
I am here every time the impulse of my verse has reached such a level that I am not able any longer to write it as verses are written but the sole way in which I can register that verse is to use colour.
I do not mean here a painting. I mean a coloured verse. There are such ones. Each hue corresponds to definite rhythms and rhymes. I have also written symphonies in colour but when I write verses through the colours I identify with the entire universe and the history of world poetry. There is no heart, happy and sorrowful, loving and grieving after a parting, or wounded by injustice and stricken by the chains of the objective and has once at least yearned in rhymes and poured out its revelations in verse, which does not beat in unison with mine. There are no lips of philosophers, inspired by love or tragedy devoted to the sensuous word who have ever lived whom I do not feel, under my lips, trembling, burning, damning or blessing happiness or unhappiness through their poetry. There is no breath, crucified upon the word which does not share pain with my breath. There is no woman who has given inspiration to be described and immortalized in words whom I am not in love with. There is no tragedy which has passed me by. Instantly I become an exile and there is no guillotine that has not beheaded me, no underground jail where I have not rotted, no wine that I have not tasted, nor a blade that has not scarred me, nor pallette or inkpot that has not soiled my fingers, no candle that has not witnessed my reflections, no dawn I have not met without a beloved, no love for a woman I have not experienced, no fanaticism which has not pained my heart, no hope for better times I have not cherished but have been left disappointed, no road O have not trodden, no fruit I have not tasted, no land where I have not bowed down, nor a couplet I have not personally written, no a time that has not bequeathed something to my words, nor amazement by which I have not been stricken, no vision that has not surprised me, no spring that has not aroused me, nor a son whose head I have not paternally caressed, nor a daughter whom I have not protected, nor a page, forgotten or still alive today, that I have not read. In an instant I identify with everyone who has touched the sheet in exultation in order to recreate existence in a more beautiful dimension. In an instant I identify with the one who reproduces the world between soulfulness and concreteness. I become the eternal one who will never cease to shed invisible tears at crucifixes and vital creative forces which have written down the bodily and immortal pages of the library of the world. I bear the names of all of them who have turned their blood and tears into letters of gold upon the eternal yearnings.
That is when I paint in colour. A single word does not possess the unique irrational philosophy of paint. The latter has pulsation and sound of its own. In its own way it becomes a verbal outpouring when it is successfully and emotionally combined with another hue. The hue does not follow the order of the reasonable but of the passionate. After its own fashion it orders existence, sets it into rhymes and turns it into verse. It quotes itself. It suggests itself. It undresses into other colours. It presents its meaning and revelation. The verse of hues is almost a direct expression of the accumulations of emotions. Its verse is an explosion which in an instant becomes a rainy storm, sanctifying the soul dissolved under it. It is sincere though even when it must describe something false. It is somehow more humorous than the word. At first glance it is not so ponderous but is much more deeply cherished and as we know what is more deeply cherished is graver. The paint does not follow linguistic and grammatical rules – it does not even follow the rules of forms. It comes before forms, chisels them out and subordinates them to itself. Its verse can be heard through the eyes and even through the skin, if one gets used to that kind of perception. What is inscribed with it does not remain unchangeable like that written on paper in ink, or, if you like, in electricity upon a magnetic disk. The poetry of hues is dynamic and mutates through our senses. It does not simply reveal itself – it communes. Paint in every case is tenderer than even the tenderest outpourings of words but that holds true only if it alive and if in itself it contains the spirit of the word. It is in the light and in the dissolving rainbow.
I am standing at the shore and am writing : “A prayer. The last of the millennium.” But am doing that in hues. I set down thousands of stars which are extinguished in a supernova while the latter is a pomegranate from which bitter tears are flowing on new year’s eve when I am lost in the maze of loneliness and am going far in search of a heart close to mine when that heart is next to mine. I am extinguished in my work and become part of it and for me again comes the night before the new millennium from which I did not expect to inspire me with loneliness. The verse-picture becomes darker, the colours vanish in a dull mood which absorbs me. I sink into it. I lose all my bearings. I hear the groan coming from Hell near me. It is the cry of abandoned lovers. Lips which can only kiss with a loving verse and utter prayer with desire. Strings, upon which a fallen angel rubs a bow of fire. Thoughts which lose form and are drowned. Lungs which are suffocated with passion. Eyes which gaze but ahead of them is only a wild endless abyss and nothing else.
Then the dullness vanishes. Faith brings back colour. Hope turns into chariots of the sun carrying the sick spirit towards the promised land of tenderness predicting everything.
The tears of dullness turn into drops of dew and I am here again with the one with whom I used to be. Here I am, though stricken by pain, stronger and deeper in love than I have ever been before. I see my smile more carefree and fresher air in my lungs, the air which remains to me till the end of my existence.
My hand holding the brush makes large strokes across the canvass and sows gardens on the white spots. Gardens of verses, which some day will be read by those who wish to and can read them. Paintings which are not simply paintings but my own Odyssey.
I smile. Ferocious pang pierces my chest but I smile. I had expected that which happened a moment later. My chest is split and from it comes out the Red Demon. His face bears no expression. His features, regular and tender almost like those of a girl, remind one of a doll. Somewhere in the abyss of his empty glance speaks an emotion. This is not the familiar demonic emotion but human and rather naпve even. There is no trace of an ironic smile nor of superciliousness. He resembles an adolescent – a pupil or son of mine.
“You freed me!” he told me briefly. “Now it’s time I leave you.”
“Will you disappear forever?”
“What does ‘forever’ mean?”
I did not answer him.
“Will you at long last tell me who you are?”
“You will understand that from these,” he pointed at the verse-paintings and vanished and his disappearance immediately altered the features of the reality before me.
A young journalist who slightly reminded one of the Red Demon, was asking me questions and we were at an exhibition again but this time all exhibited paintings were also verses.
“In what way do verse-paintings differ from the other pictures?” he asked.
“They are simply different adventures of the spirit,” I told him.
“What makes them different?” the ambitious young man persisted.
“The ones are verses in painting, the others are pictures which do not lack poetry but still are not verses.”
“It’s difficult for me to say it but I can demonstrate it in painting,” I said and painted a verse and then a picture. “Here it is. Don’t you hear the difference. One of the paintings speaks. Its voice interprets The Iliad. Don’t you hear it? Listen care full y.”
“I feel a bit silly.”
“Oh, no, don’t feel silly Only listen. With your eyes.”
“All our life is absurd.”
“To listen with my eyes…”
“Exactly. Eyes are capable of everything. They can listen, taste, smell, foretell… They can also kiss, possess and kill… The first temptation is that of the eyes. Then come the temptation of the flesh and human pride. Trust in your eyes and you’ll find out more with their help…”
“They sometimes deceive. The eyes are the only nerve – a path to the brain and through them the universe enters into us.”
“you don’t always understand them correctly, otherwise they wouldn’t have deceived you. Do you now perceive the difference in the canvasses?”
“There seems to be a certain rhythm of forms in one of them. One form seems to echo another.”
“Will you translate this verse into the familiar language?”
“Your heart will do that but you heed it. Heed your
eyes. Will you do that?”
“I begin to understand it. When did you start for the first time to write verse in colour?”
“When I decided to cast off the chains of the word.”
“But you still sometimes resort to it.”
“But in that case it is not chains but a jewelry.”
“WHOEVER HAS GOT FREE CAN BEAUTIFY THEMSELVES WITH THEIR FORMER SLAVERY.”
I am facing the Procurator of the Hill of Meaning. I have sought for the mount of thunder, I have climbed ragged rocks and every move, every breath even has been fatally risky for me but I have climbed those heights where I received the precious gift. The penny for my talent in writing poetry. Then the People of the Robots captured me and charged me with attempting to become the Ruler of Meaning. It is not with my verses that I wished for that.I never wished anything special but I simply created them.The Procurator looked sternly at me and the abyss was visible from his eyes. It seemed to suck me into itself. I could not long keep staring at those eyes and deflected my glance from them. I Bent my head down and peered at the unfamiliar flowers at my feet.
“With your verses you attacked meaning. You recreated a new reality,” his voice was cutting like the sound of hundreds of hawks.
“You said it,” I replied.
“Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!” the robots shouted.
“Slash him!” he said in anger. Two robots in female forms tied me down and slashed me.
The inflicted many blows and I was losing consciousness from pain and outside my body I felt the delight I could bear it because I knew each slash and by name each pain inflicted by each different slash…
I was losing consciousness and returning back in time, far from the hill of meaning, in familiar and unfamiliar realities, in realities in which I delighted in the suffering that gave birth to my verses. I returned to Irina, to the melodious glasses of wine, my loving anger with the world, my cravings for the spiritual, my yearnings in which I oscillated between the holy and the sinful, the caresses of the women I had had on which I drew inspiration in the merry as well as lonesome evenings , while each slash upon my flesh turned into a verse.
I was standing at a pine tree, gilded with snow, which absorbed the light of the morning and was thinking about it.I kept thinking about the snow on which I wrote down a verse with a finger and then I realized that POETRY FRAMES WORDS that every word is splendid like a painting but before it is exhibited and moves the eyes of the viewers as well as their hearts, to be shared and to become a bridge between a million kindred souls, it needs to be beautifully framed. I put in frames countless oil paintings and the pictures from the thousands of concepts I chiseled out for the frames of my own. With the feeling of a keen jeweler, inspired by the beautiful pine tree which had absorbed gilded light, to whom I said then: “Here is the man; and poetry is simply a frame of the words!”
Poetry as a frame of words was the first blow to hit my flesh.
I was again alone and misunderstood; I wanted to embrace her but could not because I saw my beloved amid the stars while I was with burnt wings that day and could not reach the stars. Then I realized I could only embrace her with verse, that I would perish if I failed to do that, that the pain of loneliness that night inspires but it also kills and each little word which I found in my heart is like a straw for a drowning man.I trembled and did not dare touch the sheet of paper with my fingers. I feared to do it, lest I lose even my last hope.At that moment my room was filled with grey smoke. I thought it was again the Demon of my colours but that was the shadow of Nietzsche who uttered to me his consolation for poets:
“From your mouth,
you, sleazy witch-eternity,
saliva slowly pours down.
In vain do I shout in revulsion:
be the time!
“It’s a world made of steel, a world of steel, Papa Jan…
“And the steel has long survived the offence of everything that hits us!
“A raging bull – deaf to every cry.”
“Even a bull would have been moved by the cries of all those who died yesterday. Insane people pushed a metal beast into a building where thousands were planning how to spend the evening.
“The world is heartless,
but it’s stupid to hate it for that!
Pour out opium!
Pour out fever, poison into my brain!
“What do you want? Money, too?
Be damned, woman,
You and your venom!
No, come back!
Outside is cold and raining.
I’ll be tender to you!
Take that! It’s gold! See how it shines!
This is happiness!
The door flings open!
The rain pours down into the bed…”
You are familiar with this feeling, my friend, aren’t you?
I fed long on this rain. With its salt I embalmed my wounds but feel already that it is coming to an end. This cold cloud has grown tired but I am not able this evening to find solace in the Moon.
You recall how I ended my poem, don’t you?
“Yes, I do!” I reply and recite its final couplet:
“In this hour, if you fail to find salvation in rhyme,
This is what Nietzsche told me and I every time responded in his poetic form.
And I saved myself because the penny for the poetry is a fragment on the flip side of the first penny: the ability to survive.
Poetry as salvation was the second slash I received.
I remember how I wandered and day in day out I needed ever new salvation.Day in day out, like a drug addict, unconsciously, in a semi-human manner, led by the crisis which had set on, I sought constantly new dosage of inspiration because I had overdone my search for salvation in this manner, I had got addicted and did not wish for anything else except a fresh dosage of poetical intoxication and I sold out every remaining human value in order to satisfy my wants. I survived, took control of myself, but there are diseases which are never completely curable.
Poetry as drug addiction was the third lash I received.
I recalled the poetic words which Rozenkreuzer once said: “The place of the saint is not in the wilderness but amidst the slaves holding a lash!” xLong before they lashed me, I myself had inflicted upon myself those blows I know so well.
I was in flight. Not on a plane, a balloon or a glider. I was flying upon wings of my own and even the hurricane could not limit my freedom because it was part of my freedom itself. I flew upon the wings of love, passion, metaphysical intoxication and lightness of heart. I was in flight because I did not feel quite able to be free on earth. I was flying with my verse and that day I was writing not on paper but with breaths upon the clouds.
Poetry as freedom was the fourth blow to cut my flesh.
I was again with her. The swallow and the woman, the demon and the angel of my love, the self-destructive and the constructive love, the love about which all the verses in the world had been written ever since the beginning of time till the end of it. We made passionate love. I had a feeling our groans set fire to the forest but in fact from our bodies poured forth the light which I likened to flames. It was also flames but at the same time it was the shine of an enamoured Moon and of the Sun aroused from protuberances and the glitter of gold and flicker of longing stars and the radiance of the happy and demented soul and of dumb thought which yielded to the passions the privilege of writing verses. Then it all came to an end. Poetry is like a beloved woman and all beloved women and it is a lash inflicted upon the back of the poet.
I was standing opposite a medusa in human form. It offered me money. It was a base creature who sought to achieve its political goals by demanding of me to extol him in verses. I did not do it but others did. People, who, out of dire poverty and concern to secure bread for their children cheapened their precious farthing and the beloved woman in order to turn her into a mistress.
Poetry as a mistress whom I despise was the sixth lash which left a scar upon my skin.
One night I stood on the verge of the precipice. I wondered how I had found myself there. I had journeyed long without a map,a destination or direction, guided only by my urges and desires. I had journeyed, forgetting myself and all my objectives, in search of indefinite beauty. After all sorts of vicissitudes I came to my senses on the verge of the precipice and realized I had travelled towards it and that when you attain a summit you cannot but see an abyss. I was sinking into it because there was now way back. I am borne in the space of the abyss because it is already too late for me put an end to my versification. I had lost all memory about existence without verses.
Poetry as an abyss into which I’m sinking was the seventh blow with which I was punished.
I came to my senses, powerless in the face of the poison of everyday life. The air was polluted suffused with poisonous gases, deceit and baseness in the ether of trivial human envy, of animal impulses in identity-card holders, of wars and injustices, violence and pervert existences. A world in which the innocent rotted in mud while swarthy devils drank their blood and arrogantly sympathized with them. This is one aspect of the splendid air and I needed a space suit to escape being poisoned by it; and that space suit was again poetry.Poetry – yes, but this time the one which was entirely mine composed by the hues which I can dissolve even in the words I am inscribing on the sheet in order to create more beauty and make beauty still more powerful than baseness. It is quixotic adventure but it helps.
Poetry as a space suit was the next blow I received.
I am journeying far afield somewhere. The world is entirely unfamiliar. Trees do not resemble people but rather creatures from another planet. Dusk awakes dreams in an unintelligible language. And the radio broadcasts incomprehension. Even the Moon does not resemble a woman but rather and exotic monument of an unknown nation. All my life experience seems to me somehow unnatural, the thought even crosses my mind that nothing of it all ever happened but was merely the product of my loneliness. I am so lonesome that am not even in love. This is not the loneliness on the summit. Not the loneliness of the love-sick of the recluse, the saint, the quirky fellow, of the very rich or very poor; it is not the loneliness of those who embrace or of the exiles. It is the loneliness of all of them and of none of them taken separately. My car produces an unfamiliar sound. The axis lever seems broken and I start whispering a verse to avoid getting demented when suddenly I find myself on top of my lonely peak, love-sick, recluse, saint, criminal, a wild, odd heart, both very rich and very poor, thanks to a single verse born of a single truly lonesome moment which is decorated with the hues of dozens of lonelinesses.
Poetry as an invisible presence during a lonesome moment is now the blow I’m getting.
In one of my armchairs stands the Blue Demon, enjoying the faint flicker of the molten candle. The Red Demon stands in front of the mirror and is mocking me. He is baiting me with indecent outpourings which can only be the product of a sick mind. From the balcony comes the growl of the black demon. The demon of the colour of ocher is leafing a catalog of my paintings and most insolently started masturbating. I am alone with all these demons. I am sure they are about to tear me apart. I ought to fear them but I know a way of driving them all away. I acknowledge these are not real demons – rather their projections into my mentality and I know how to turn their provocation into something positive. Instead of being frightened I am inspired. I begin writing and the demons wriggle and vanish in hissing smoke.
A lash: poetry as a demonic interlocutor.
“Why are you so ridiculous?” the Eternal Clown asked me disdainfully.
“Why are you hiding under the Maya Veil the only sincere teardrop you can shed and the joy of being yourself; why do you drench the signs in your feverish blood; why do you turn genuine gulps of air into volumes from the big library when in any case it is Eternal and unchangeable?” These questions came from the depth of my chest. Was it Borges’s or that of my friend Rozenkreuzer? No,no. Rather, it was the voice of my shadow which desired the lived life, dreamt of blossoming into the fruits of love, adventures, familiarity with the motorways, the outline of the sea-shore and the curve of a woman’s body, whereas it had to come to know all those things via the rhythm of words which are carriers of prior knowledge.
“Why do you write this to me?” a half-naked girl was asking me. She was alone in an armchair in a heavily furnished room, suffused with fragrant odour, an aroused moon peering through the curtains into omnipresent vital lonesomeness. “How can you possibly make me more beautiful? Are the words really meant for me? It’s I, rather, who fit them. I had to be, so that they would have more beauty, rather than the words would be merely a way for you to make love to me…”
“Why are you lost in Beauty?” Truth briefly asked me.
“Why do you identify me with words?” Beauty asked me.
“Why do you turn us into vibrating matter when we can simply be the splendid future which slowly arrives and takes possession?” the ideas asked.
“Why do you make us subjective and do you think you have the right of criticism of us?” events asked.
“Why are you aspiring to differ from your own Self?” Nature was asking me.
“Why are you destroying Sacred Silence by imitating the Divine?” saintly eastern apostles reproached me.
“Why can’t we understand you?” friends asked.
“Why are we indifferent to the anger you expressed in this way?” enemies asked.
“Why don’t we set off on a real flight whereas you prefer the individual flight?” the dreamers asked.
“Why do you take away from the lips to give to the fingers?” the voluptuous asked
“Why do you turn me into rhythm when I am Chaos and delight?” life asked me.
“Why do you touch the heart when you must preach?” the philosophers asked.
“Why do you preach when you have to touch the heart?” artists asked
“Why do you destroy yourself?” a woman oracle asked.
“Why do you build yourself up different?” another woman oracle asked me.
“Why must you instill a soul into words when you could have filled a soul with words?” a third woman oracle asked me.
The falling leaves in the forest asked further questions, many more, to which I could not reply in their own language yet I chose to respond with action and with my latest verse. The latest was only a continuation of the preceding one. Part of my long poem, part of my existence, in words, as an unfinished message. The message of thousands of paintings, thousands of verses – a single message of a single – though multiple and contradictory – heart. Some day I was going to provide answers to all those questions “why” and my poetry would become uninteresting even to me, but for now…
For now I still felt love and had to say much more things to my beloved.
I still was full of admiration and to avoid an outburst I had to find an expression of my admiration.
I was still amazed and could not but give breath and voice to what I was facing with wide open eyes and before which I was kneeling.
I still got angry and could not pass it over in silence.
I still had longings which I had to share.
My heart had not yet completed its message and of course a heart’s message has to be shared with someone. With a beloved woman, with the whole world and everything in it…
Poetry as an unfinished message was the eleventh lash ordered by the Procurator on the Mount of Meaning.
Madam Delight stood opposite me: in leather tights, high boots and dark red wavy hair. She smiled arrogantly at me. She had a human name, too, she had many feminine names. She was beautiful. Her thighs were perfectly shaped, her bust was tempting with its splendour, her eyes were deep, not devoid of cruelty, eyes which penetrated deep under the skin – seeing eyes. Her smile was incredibly innocent. I do not remember the reason why I dated her. Was it because of sexual attraction, love at first sight, a few exchanged phrases, a wish not to remain alone, a surprising daily occurrence or an act of seduction well thought out by her or myself. Her teeth were in perfect order. Sharp, capable of biting but also of withdrawing behind the lips when kissing was fantastic.
She whispered to me:
“…I’ll have you…”
“…it will be for a moment…”
She said to me:
“…I’ll deprive you of your self, you will be part of me…”
“… part of me … for you…”
She said to me:
“… it will be sweet…”
I said to her:
“… I’m going to possess you…”
I lost memory of it all. I lost thought. Lost sense of identity. Something was happening. Something splendid beyond my understanding. Something terrible to which I had given myself over and which I had chosen. Something which resembled and erotic act but was incomparably more ecstatic and cruel. Something deeply absorbing…
I often have recollections of her. I recall it when the sun rises and without uttering the aggressive “I’ll have you!” I, writing a verse about her, insert it into the words and ejaculate upon the painting.
Memories about her come to me at dusk, near green meadows, and colours are melting in front of me , slowly sinking into the secret which again says together with my heart:
“I’ll possess you!” and I’m doing it.
I remember occasions when from my personal belongings a photo of my beloved accidentally drops down… On such occasions I peer into the splendid memory of it all and cannot help uttering:
“I’ll possess you!” which I do with the next verse.
I say “I’ll possess you!” to unattainable peaks to long lost souls which I keep admiring, to a myriad of sea-waves and even to more miles, to a beauty who, without a model and without me having seen her anywhere appears on my painting by god knows what caprice of the imagination, as well as to a beauty I know and can or don’t want to have as a wife but only as an image in oils and after that as a verse I have longed for.
I also tell “I’ll possess!” you to the falling stars.
I also say it to destructive flames.
And I say it to the falling autumn leaves.
And to the snowdrops.
And to the caresses in the summer.
And to the voluptuously blossoming spring flowers.
I say it to waterfalls and to lightnings which I can capture in the brief instant of their existence in order to possess.
And to the fast changing landscapes outside the window when I am travelling.
I say it and I am aware that poetry is also an aggression vis-а-vis beauty.
This is also the twelfth lash on the Mount of Meaning.
Once I had her and I knew I would lose her. I felt it months before it happened. But what am I saying!? I felt it millennia before it happened because our time together also lasted for centuries. Centuries and instants. Time going mad. A mixture of different ages. We had hundreds of faces and all of them opened themselves to others and embraced in the confused world. I felt I would lose her and was in the dark whether I was suffering for her or for myself. In general, whether I was suffering or was lucky for the miraculous escape from the woman with the face for which I felt murderous love, the one with the heart whose every beat I felt also, the one whose skin I penetrated, the one setting my soul alight, the one who filled me with absolute love and absolute love is often like absolute cruelty, the one who was a lunar orgasm, the one with whom alone could I drink champagne for two, the one who taught me the first lesson of the similarity of man to God, who reminded me of that lesson and made me go over it once again. The capability of falling in love!
Who will embrace her as I did when I was in her possession and she was in mine?
And who could carry her on his wings when she only trusted mine and made them fly?
Who would take care of her against evil persons along the paths of all her spiritual adventures when it was along those same paths I went?
Who could make her forget the world gravity with a single caress when during all those years she had not found anyone else able to do it but me?
Who would save her from the self-destructive flames of her own passion when it was I alone who knew her inside out?
Who would have supported her in difficult moments of life as she was so unworldly and often incapable of taking the difficult decisions which daily life required?
Then I felt it was not possible for us to actually ever part. In her verse addressed to me she would discover my wings and my shoulder, my arm and my heart, the delight of flesh and the intoxication of the soul, the ability to be a woman as well as her right to be frivolously happy and pretty.
My verses will bear the wind upon my wings and the hail, splintered on my wounded shoulder, will bear the dream memory of my arm and my quick pulse , will delight the flesh and through memories will intoxicate her soul so she would again be capable of being a woman enjoying her right to be frivolously pretty and happy.
When two hearts are far apart, the female one has greater need of the angel of poetry.
“POETRY IS SO TENDER BECAUSE IT IS THE ANGEL OF WOMEN.”
Poetry as the angel of women was only the next lashing for men. There – on the Mount of Meaning.
You have misunderstood me if you reproach me for sexual arrogance. A lash at the Mount of Meaning is the breath of an angel but these lines are after all written by the happy sufferer who is a man.
Once upon a time my soul was hungry. It may have been for a day or for years. It did not find pleasure either in wine or rum or caresses or a feeling for friendship nor could the paintings even gladden her every time because both the lashes and the wings were lacking.
Because the lashes and the angel wings are poetry and poetry is food for the soul. Only a hungry soul has need of poetry. Blessed be that hunger because only it finds the food.
Poetry feeds the soul and that is yet another lashing – the fourteenth.
I was satiated. I had the feeling that my trunk is as big as the Tibetan mountain, that my balls were as large as the Mars satellites that my brain is no less big than the sun, that the soul was filled with a galaxy, that honey dripped from my mouth and wine was pouring out which could provide for an endless
feast held by all bacchantes and Olympic deities , of all known and unknown inmates of the inferno and of all villagers and townspeople all the animals and trees in the forest. So satiated that I could dissolve in the abyss, overfilling it. In that time my days were filled with successes, my exhibitions delighted millions – exhibitions in halls, virtual spaces, halls in ruins, in the heavens, in flames and in forests. I was respected, honored and loved but most importantly I was spiritually satiated. So much so, that should I burst along the seams I had a feeling a new universe would be born. So much so, that I could die well satisfied.
I did not realize why and how the sheet of paper was found in my hand. Perhaps I had to write down some telephone number but instead on the paper appeared the following:
“Is that you?
What happened to your old impulse?
Is that you?
Or is that your doll?
Is that you?
Or is it you fulfilled sentimental dream?
Is that you?
Or is that your dreamy state?
Is that you?
Or have you cut through your own self?
Is that you?
Or is it you broken sabre?
Is that you?
Or is it the unimaginable you imagine?”
I started shedding tears upon the paper. The sheet absorbed my tears.Then I felt disturbed. Very much disturbed.That verse was for me poetry as terror over calmness and the fifteenth lash.
The same day an exhibition of my works was opened without my attendance. I had been looked for and a media noise had been raised. They thought all sorts of things had happened to me but what indeed happened was as much hard to bear as it was useful. The hungry seek to get satiated and the sated sometimes tries to be hungry as well.I sped on my car in an unknown direction as I often do.
Where to was I fleeing and why? I was oppressed by my fame and glory.I was oppressed by my own potency.I was oppressed by heaviness of heart – the great beehive of creative ideas. I was oppressed by my creative hand which made them and encapsulated me inside them. That was it, precisely. I reached a point where I could not be outside my works and to identify myself without them. The creator cannot exist without creation but the creation can become his sole definition and present him in a kind and form equal to the world creation, when the genuine kind and form are freedom and the formless spirit. I was fleeing my own vanity. I was fleeing greatness which had turned from a palace to a prison for me. I was fleeing the love of many was no longer a happiness but a limitation. I was fleeing the habits of being one of the elect. I was fleeing my name and wanted to be nameless, aimless wind, led by the impulses of nature, destructive and caressing or dissolving in flight, without being impressed with itself, without inspiring admiration, I was fleeing towards the deepest corner of the forest of the spirt which resembled a poem, though not made of rhythmically arranged words but in the rhythm of the engine and that of my rebelious heart. That was also poetry.
Poetry as the rhythm of freedom: yet another lash upon the Mount of Meaning.
I returned to a place where I had forgotten I had felt as if at home. I recalled the feeling but now it, suffused with nostalgia, was different. I realized that there could be no return to a home you have once left, that once you have crossed the threshold, the ceiling above changes. The view from the windows alters. With you crossing the threshold part of the quotidian, that part which has been integral to your being, has severed its umbilical cord connecting it to the modest or lavish furniture, with the man or woman with whom you have shared the view from the windows , the morning cup of tea or coffee whose flavour is also an embodiment of every hearth.Also changed are the silence and the sounds and other spirits now occupy the space behind the walls. Everything is the same and yet it isn’t. It is impossible for the prodigal son to come back and to merely re-discover a portion of the past with which he or she has parted and a new face of the loneliness. I returned again to “The Worn Out Truths of the Exposed Lie” and the building was nearly ruined already. I recalled some verses and a past romance. I recalled her features. The rhymes began to pulsate under my skull,voluptuous tingling crept over my skin and I felt the ants of voluptuous passion biting it on the inside painfully. A picture started to emerge before my eyes. I raised a hand in the air as though holding a brush and began painting not upon a canvas but upon empty space.I felt my eyes burning. I closed them and when I opened them again I saw in front of me Madam Poetry. She had eyes larger than those of any other woman; her cheekbones though somewhat forbidding where tender at the same time. Her hair was like the foliage of a weeping willow but not green, purple rather. Her skin was tender and vibrated like the wavy surface of a sea. Her fragrance was intoxicating and she had six or more hands which she kept spinning in a strange dance around herself, caressed her breasts and her belly, embraced me and from her lips kept pouring forth a sensual melody. When she touched my lips with hers I drank from the wellspring of all world poetry. I felt as if I was losing consciousness and at the same time was for the first time opening my eyes towards another and more real world. A world in which trees bent their crowns in order to caress the earth and the earth was excitedly writhing without causing quakes. The winds are in colours and in every following instant paint one picture after another; the stars are lips kissing the nocturnal birds which reach them while the birds themselves have human shapes.
“Do you want us to fly with them?” she asked me after she had parted her lips from mine.
“I do!” said I.
“You know, don’t you, that once we are above the earth we are going to cross its threshold and you have already seen that once you cross the threshold of a home there is no returning to it anymore.”
“Yes, I do and am afraid but I like being afraid and conquering my fear; moreover I am tempted by the stars just as I am by you now. You resemble Irina.”
She gave a resounding laugh and embraced me just like Irina.
“Irina is my name.”
“At any rate now when we are together. I am ever changing my names and the old one by which I was called even an instant previously I always forget. Let’s fly and kiss the stars and later on you will paint me.”
“I have painted you already.”
“I know but this time you will do it differently.”
We were flying and existing in the reality of Love, in the passionate thrills beyond good and evil, in Beauty and Hopelessness. We kissed all the stars and when we alighted and she vanished I painted Madam Poetry. There followed the seventeenth lash on the Mount of Meaning: poetry as a lover at night.
After Madam Poetry all that was left to me was the rusty farthing I had once received on the Mount of Thunder. The farthing however looked dreary and brought me no joy. I was ready to exchange it or buy something with it. I wondered whether there existed an Exchange Bureau of Spiritual Values. Such a one where you could offer a priceless farthing and receive another priceless monetary unit. I recalled however how it was done in the “Shop for Castles in the Air” and the hyperinflation there. If I exchanged that farthing I would be losing in any case. As soon as this occurred to me it again turned into Madam Poetry. This time she had a freckled face her hair was long and platinum coloured and her hands were those of a child: unblemished and unskilled with which she touched me and laughed. She did not look older than thirteen and I dared not respond to her playful overtures.
“You did right!” she said but I was quite in the dark as to whether she was referring to the fact that I did not exchange the farthing or to the fact that I dared not profane her with an erotic caress. “You have chosen me, I am your betrothed but you’ll have to wait for me to grow up. It depends on me,” she laughed playfully. “I may take two or three hundred years to grow up, or a whole eternity and you will forever see the child in me but not the woman…” she pursed her lips and attempted to sound sinister: “Sometimes I’m rather cruel. You must treat me well and I can decide to be kind to you. O, you simply don’t know how kind I can be…”
I do not know what I did and she grew up not in years but in hours and became convinced how endearing she could indeed be. So endearing that to a man it might seem at first glance that she knew no pity…
Poetry as a rusty farthing which turns into Madam Poetry, or the eighteenth lash.
It seemed to me I did not know people, that the world is a masked ball at which the hour of twelve never rings, that I touch their multi-coloured shadows which I build into my pictures but not in their true spirit, in their true flesh, that I am a deceived big boy , that my messages are heard by the hypocritical halves of their hearts but do not reach their secret while the secret itself is guarded by a double-faced, sly custom-house officer who is not to be outsmarted but can only bribe. Once I painted that custom-house officer. His one eye was fire, the other, a piece of coal. Smoke came out of his nostrils and upon his forehead a snake was tattooed with a fruit between its poisonous teeth. One of his hands was holding a spike while the other was folded behind his back. I wondered what could want me to put in that hand of his. I thought for a while and gave him the farthing. He accepted it and allowed me on the other side of the barrier where there was a heap of golden coins which belonged to me. I turned my single verse into many verses.
Poetry is also a bribe for the guardian of the secrets. It was a blow which I was prepared to bear a thousand times in exchange for what got, but it was a single lash, like the others.
The country was poor. Spirituality was lacking. The language was sharp and double. The press was vicious. The radio and TV – poisoned. Rich hearts were born in order to be robbed. The poor were born to be further impoverished. The country seemed to be in a period of hopelessness. I paused to think whether I was completely robbed and remembered the farthing I had. I looked for it in my pockets but did not find it. I looked for it under my tongue but it was not there, either. I searched my cupboard with old memories but did not find it. Nor was it to be found in my treasure-trove box. Nor among the albums with photographs which represented my life – rich in events and adventures of body and spirit. Nor did I find it in the ashes of the Hearth of Love, nor in the reflection of the mirror. Then I accidentally lighted on the Masked Door of Hope on the wall. I thought it was there behind that door but it was locked. Then I a tightened my lips not to cry out from pain, delved into my chest and searched into the heart. I touched upon the rest of the farthings, fingered my old wounds, discovered another album of memories, such as the camera had not managed to capture – this album contained much more than the other one which I could display before people’s eyes, the old typewriter… (you can find all sorts of things in a heart)… I found pieces of broken hearts, portions of eye pupils dispersed throughout the whole space of the heart, Irina’s copper and platinum plates, the crossing point between good and evil which I had somehow managed to take away from the Shop for Castles in the Air, the little ghost of a girl with whom I must have been in love since childhood, ashes from my burnt out paintings, white frost from paintings which had flown amidst the clouds, drops from those which had floated and soil from the ones I had stored underground and finally I found what I had been looking for, viz., the Farthing, i.e., a talent for poetry but now it was not a coin but a key. With it I opened the Door of Hope and when I did that I saw another Country. It was a country where the rich were born in order to get even richer and sometimes the poor were born in order to become just as wealthy as the very rich. In that country the word was not cheapened and the language had not gotten coarse. On the contrary: it overflowed with tenderness.
Poetry as key to hope. The last lash which had it even been a thousand times harsher I would have received as a caress.
“Why are you lashing me?” summoned I the strength to ask the Procurator. “Didn’t you realize that this punishment I feel not as a pain in the body?”
“Wait till you bear all of them!” the Procurator burst out laughing, “…and if you manage to survive – I don’t really know. Those caresses aren’t exactly painless, are they? Beauty isn’t harmless to Meaning and that is why we punish you with what you punished us before that.”
“But how can robots be punished?”
“The existence of human imperfection,” he answered me and ordered still more lashes.
The secrets were revealed behind the Door of Hope. I cannot describe them, I cannot even recall them. Some day perhaps my hand itself will re-call them. It will lay them upon the paintings and I will see that incomparable wealth which rewarded my sight. However, I remember the ring of exultation which I placed upon my forefinger. I also recall the Laurel Wreath of the Celestial Vault which I put on my forehead and then replaced by the Crown of Thorns of Glory and after that I took it off too in order to place on my head the Crown of Wisdom and sat in the throne next to the smaller throne of Madam Poetry. I remember that seven hundred seventy seven wise men revealed to me seven hundred seventy seven secrets and seven hundred seventy seven virgins opened before me the unfamiliar faces of beauty and amorous intoxication. I also tasted seven hundred seventy seven strange pieces of fruit and wrote down seven hundred seventy seven verses but then forgot them and came to myself again on the Mount of Meaning. I had to pay with pain for all the delight and Poetry as a gift of the Secrets I also had to experience as a lash but how can a lash compare to the entire delight?
I ached but not from the blows. At the time I did not yet know that all I feel as delight will have to be symbolically paid for with pain. My heart ached. My chest was swollen as though with cancer. My head was splitting. It had grown so big that my neck could not keep it upright though I have a strong neck. The fingers of my left hand also ached. They were swollen and deadly pale and I could not move them. I was losing consciousness from pain but at the same time I felt a pleasurable sensation. I had an inkling of something going to happen. Without knowing why, I foresaw a change in me – a change so total as to make everything past seem quite different from before. Sweat kept dripping from my forehead into my eyes. It was salty sweat burning my eyes to near blindness just when I felt how my heart split and out of it came something I was too poor-sighted to see. It kissed my eyes and I saw the Butterfly-Girl. The Butterfly-Girl was a Condition of Universal Beauty, made human flesh and blood. It was born of my heart and gladdened it after so much pain. Then my skull split, too, and out of it flew a swarm of birds in the air outside my window, giving its song to the world as gift. These were not ordinary birds but the pages of “The Gallery”. I withstood much, too much, pain before that happened but the swarm was enormous for all that and its singing was sweet and powerful at the same time. For a moment I regretted I could not keep even a single one of those birds with me. I had a golden cage and was able to take good care of birds but I quickly realized these ones were migratory and as much freedom-loving as I was myself and it was not a cage they needed but wide open skies, thunder and lightning, shoulders upon which they could alight in a friendly manner and windows of strangers above which to nest.Then my fingers too were split. They turned into countless hues. They coloured the air in all directions and turned it into paintings and more paintings. Paintings which altered by the second. Paintings which had a life of their own. Paintings which delighted the eyes; evoked dreamings, penetrated deep into the pupils of the eyes in order to possess other hearts and for the other hearts to give birth to their own Butterfly-Girls…
Poetry brings greatest happiness after much birth pangs and the lash merely intensifies the delight.
But poetry is also something else My demoniac interlocutors are well aware of it. They are aware of it when they fill my breast and my voice becomes hoarse and gives a slapping noise like a lash, cruel as an executioner, self-confident as a judge with unlimited powers.
“Why do you need Her?” the Butterfly-Girl was shedding bitter tears. “Am I not perfect. Are there more erotic shapes than mine? Is there a delight greater than the one you can experience together with me? Why do you need that street-walker who has been in the service of cruel interests, lost souls and pathetic people – rotten, impotent torturers. Why do you warp your love for me via her. Is there a more harmonic one than me…”
She kept on lamenting while I said to myself:
“Really? Is it so?”
She is the incarnation of perfection, harmony, symmetry. A replica of the Devine. Space, filled with thrills.
“Why don’t you contemplate and inseminate us but are trying to understand?” asked the poplars.
“Why don’t you dissolve with me but describe me?” the dawn asked.
“Why don’t you make love to me but are endlessly explaining yourself?” the full Moon mocked me.
We came to our senses in the diving bell. We continued making love in the narrow space, just as we had done in the endless Atlantis.
“We were near suicide again!” Irina told me. “How long will we keep on doing this? Till we actually kill oursleves, or what?”
I kept silent. I di not know what to say to her. We were agin in the atelier. I had finished several pictures resembling abstract ones but they were landscapes from Atlantis.
“You’re being unfaithful to me!” she hissed. “And I know why. Because you love me too much and are afraid of such deep love. It is desperate! It reaches depair. It reaches the last drop of blood and sperm. The last thought. The last thrill. And you’re afraid and are trying to take the edge off your feelings for me by engaging in sex with other women.”
I kept silent. I wanted to mislead her but I could not. Indeed, I had been unfaithful to her. I do not know if that had any connection with that petite girl who stayed with me the night I really had need of somebody. When I saw Laura the Raven she came to my mind within a split second. After that I felt a certain strange fervent desire to tear her apart in my arms. I felt the same magnetism one feels when one meets a woman with whome one has had a relationship and finding yourself alone with her your memory leads you without you wanting it towards that damned and blessed thrill. Innocent exchanges of looks. Then the looks become more insistent. The flesh remembers and feels the same as at the previous time and even stronger because it desires it but has placed in front of it the barrier of the taboo. Because a distance divides us. Because the distance is short and infinite. Vital sex. Sex driven by memories.
I felt the same and before I betrayed Irina for Laura the Raven I had already done that. Exchanges of looks and memories of sex with a girl with which I had had no such memories. It was absurd. Odd. Incomprehensible. Besides, I had never experienced such a beginning. We exchanged a few innocent phrases. Then we philosophized:
“IF YOU SUCCEED, COMING OUT OF YOUR BODY, TO TOUCH SOMEONE – THIS IS LOVE.” That was my new message which I uttered spontaneously.
What you discern in me is not actually me but the sleepy state I am in. I seem to have heard something like that in a song but was not quite certain though I liked it…
“You are an artist and can capture my wakeful state. If you manage to wake me up…
This was the same innocently provocative exchange of words as between two former lovers. I had made love to her. Perhaps in a previous existence but I indeed had… And she felt it and that’s why she challenged me.
“IF YOU WAKE SOMEONE UP IT IS YOUR DUTY TO GIVE THEM PART OF YOUR WORLD AND MAKE THEIR LIFE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN THEIR DREAM HAS BEEN.” I uttered again my spontaneous message but was simply trying to escape… I had the creeps under my old skin. The skin which is not addicted to Irina but to woman generally. To the naked woman. To the woman with whom you are engaging in sex even without any other emotions. But in fact is sex at all possible without some sentiment? Not with me!
Laura and I had met somewhere. We may have simply come into contact on a tram or in coffee bar. The thrill must have passed quickly. It must have been chilled in the course of our busy daily life when we took diverse directions. In the same way our dreams were spoiled. We dreamt of ourselves in the cornfields under a shining purple moonlight. I lift her purple dress and my fingers start playing under her bikini. She whispers it is delightful and wants me to go on that way. I take off her dress. She unbuttons my trousers and sinks her lips in my pulsating flesh. We collapse among the corn and are lost in the field. The ghostly moon envelops us in purple. We chase each other in the cornfield and all of a sudden are lost. The hill I roam about is covered with snail-ridden trees, mildew and dry grass around the hollows. The trees are naked; dry; miserable-looking. Their branches resemble road signs which I know are meant to confuse me. I turn round and see an ugly witch. Naked and toothless, she whispers spattering me with saliva, that I want to make love to her. I awake drenched in sweat, having forgotten my dream and I actually now am not sure whether I have indeed had such a dream or it has been another of my fantasies.
I had, however, indeed met somewhere that sweet red-haired petite girl…
“What do you mean by sleeping state? You are awake surely. Do I resemble a nightmare?”
“My sleep state is what your eyes are seeing, otherwise I am awake. Can you wake me up with your glance?”
I was trembling from horror and passion. My God, I was being unfaithful to Irina in that very instant already. With Laura we engaged in sex at a distance. In her eyes I saw millions male and female genitals, walking about like spiders on their six legs and riding upon one another, jumping away from one another and chasing one another on their funny legs. In her eyes I saw stars but they were unreal ones. Beauties were drinking and drinking all the time and the thirst for male sperm was burning them insanely and – drinking a mirage – they drink up a body from a distance. And what am I to say about my glance? I felt it was murderous. Destroying! A glance which wanted so badly it could not but take its own. I perceived that in her small legs, in her narrow vulva and sweet clitoris. A woman a meter and thirty centimeters tall – a child-woman. A fragile tiny statuette. Then she showed me her own seal. In black letters on it were inscribed the words: “Laura, the Raven, the last virgin”. But I had done the sex act with her previously!
It could not have been otherwise… She was perhaps part of Irina’s re-incarnations when were making love in Atlantis. At that time she changed so many faces and bodies that I could not remember them all…
In fact it was Irina who introduced me to Laura the Raven. She was certain we would fall for each other but although she demonstrated no objection to that, in her voice I caught a baleful note of jealousy. Maybe she felt she was making a mistake or it was in reality pure feminine jealousy.
“Will you see me awake in your eyes? Will you paint me?”
I could not hide my hard-on, nor could she hide the fact that she noticed it. Leaning against a statue representing a female body waist downward, she was masked. As soon as she leaned against the statue, her face turned into a ghostly mask. A mask behind which could be concealed the most splendid woman, the most disgusting one, a close relative, a witch, an old hag, or quite a young girl… She began tenderly to caress the marble legs and I felt how they come to life and possessed by the thrill of a wild passion, having reached such an absolute state, are paralyzed and yielding to the tender hand caressing them. Hairs started to grow upon the genitals of the statues. This was exactly how I painted them afterwards. At the same time the mask on Laura’s face was becoming stony and it was the mask, not the face which felt the same thrill experienced by the splendid marble thighs. I photographed her. My camera saw things differently from what my eyes saw. It was to fixate it without the mask whereas my eyes would remember her such as I was about to paint her – the mysterious girl with the marble mask, her wakefulness, masked and secretive, familiar from somewhere, a stranger or an acquaintance to whom I had made love at some time or other…
My chest was hot. My thighs were weakened so much that I felt they could no longer support my body upright. I collapsed on the grass. There were people in the park but they meant nothing to me. They looked like the lustful spider-genitals in the eyes of Laura the Raven which I saw before she placed the mask upon her face. At that moment they had simply vanished. Instead of them it was the abyss now lurking from her eyes – the vaginal throne which had tried to suck me into itself when I was in Hell. I had a fear of approaching them but at some point the fear was gone. They had sucked me in from a distance and I had reached orgasm even before I fell down on the grass and before she came close and straddled me. I thought it was Irina. With no other woman could I experience such a wild emotion while being so unperturbed as to do it in the park before people’s eyes. I could do such a thing once upon a time but that was before I met Irina.
I even had a tragi-comical adventure in Russia when engaging in sex with a stranger on a bench, I was surprised by the police torchlight and the woman started screaming: “I’m being raped, raped, raped…” and I had to run away through the thorns naked, risking a mortal piercing of my balls by thorns. There have been other similar cases. One such adventure I also had with a beauty whose wild eyes, athletic, sun-burned body and sharp features made her resemble a black panther when after exchanging stares at each other for a long time in a semi-vacant but quite empty eating establishment we did it on the table. Also, with two Greek females, near the Parthenon; with a young girl with whom we later had a car crash – amidst the ruins of the Assen Fortress in the company of others. I have made also photos and clips of myself surrounded and made love to by many naked women. All that was before I met Irina. After that I could be so untrammeled solely with her but at the present instant Laura the Raven was she herself.
Irina was under Laura’s mask. Irina had huddled in her small body and had adopted its outlines. It could not have been any other woman. Or if it was another woman it was from some re-birth of mine in which our love had been so passionate and deep as the love of Irina and me was in this life of mine.
While rolling on the ground we found something like a refuge in a bush. Her mask hooked itself on one of the branches, fell down and under it another was uncovered – the face of a woman whom did not remember either but with whom I had also made love. Old re-births! Karmic debts! She was revealing them to me! One after another! The sleep states which were in my eyes woke up in order to hurt me. To kill me with passion. To extinguish the blazing fire of my love for Irina. In that instant I recalled them both.
I was an Indian prince. One of them was my wife, the other the top courtesan. My wife was Laura the Raven and as always happens she was living under the shadow of Irina and as my caresses often did not reach her, she was taking her revenge now on me… I ejaculated in her face. The sperm opened the next mask to me. It was madness indeed. It was the woman I had been in love with before I boarded the Titanic. The woman I had been madly in love with until I met on board that other one. With a premonition of the tragedy, it seemed, we allowed everything between us to pass quickly. After the wreckage we were among the lucky ones to be saved. Facing death, we unlocked our strongest burning passions. Not knowing we would be saved, we embraced in expectation of our saving boat to be discovered and that embrace was the eternal love begun between Adam and Eve and having passed through all men’s and women’s bodies. Having forgotten the one waiting for me, I started life under another name in America. One day I chanced to come across a friend from my past life from whom I learnt what in fact I had done to the one I had been so deeply in love with. She apparently did not believe I had drowned. She had kept insisting I had been saved and was living with another woman but some day she insisted I was to return to her. She swore she would wait for me and would not allow to be touched by another man. People thought her insane until finally she did lose her mind. She slowly wasted herself in mental institutions where even the best doctors could not save her. To avoid killing myself that same evening I made love to my other beloved more passionately than ever. We spent the whole night till the morning at our home like that. Then took a boat where we went on as before. Carried in an unknown direction upon the waves, we made love more and more passionately till in the end the boat crashed into a rock. We were sinking; for an instant we had a glimpse of Atlantis; then the moon emptied itself upon it and sank it… Laura, who became possessed by a wild orgasm, scratched her face with her nails. Then I saw her next mask and face…
She was a tender creature. She believed that when she was away from the mirror it did not reflect anything. She believed that the stars are golden tacks nailed in by my masterful hand. At that time I was goldsmith but she did not accept any of the jewels I offered her as presents. She believed I had given the stars to her as a present. She believed that when I was not with her I am simply nowhere and do not exist and it was she who gave birth to me with her eyes and wants just that. She believed she also gave birth to the other people but thought me her beloved offspring… What she gave birth to that night with her eyes killed her!
I met the other woman who resembled a calm sea. She spoke to me mysteriously just like my beloved but unlike her she was not mad. I don’t know in what the difference is manifested but at the time I felt it. At the same time I also felt loneliness. I had been damn lonely when I thought I was loved and myself in love when in reality the only thing I had been doing was to yield to the insanity of my wife. A girl who would never grow up nor had she ever been able to make me feel a real man. I saw another image of her – a grown up woman. And she probably saw the man she expected to meet in order to make both of us happy. So, that same evening we found ourselves in hotel room. The same happened on the next night! And so on every other night, till malevolent gossip reached my wife as to the place at which I was spending my nights. She did not believe it. She could not have believed it anyway, because she thought she gives birth at a glance and she could not bring herself to give birth to such a thing. I do not know how it happened but she opened the hotel door only to see that she had given birth to a nightmare. I remember how she slipped between the window curtains. She was so nearly weightless that they nearly held her up. Then I saw her body. I closed my eyes not to see anything. When I opened them I saw her over me in the bushes, re-incarnated again. Then I nearly died from a stroke.
This time I had left my other one lonely. The tragedy occurred an instant before she reached the thrill of the lunar orgasm and we had to meet in the elevator when a chance touching was to mark the end of the sweet thrill we experienced on that tragic night. I again ejaculated in her face. No mask was opened. The sperm on her face made her look like an Indian warlord. I was not sure whether we were making love or war in the bushes. Were we taking vengeance or granting forgiveness. Our love was war. Real love! Real betrayal! Irina was vanishing! Another one was providing me with the same thrill but with fiercer rage and cruelty. Our adventure in the bushes lasted for a long time and when we continued in the atelier something was changed about Laura. She was now quite an ordinary girl and could not at all stand comparison to Irina.
It all must have been a fantasy. She simply reminded me of the girl who did not leave me alone that night, a night which without her would have been one of the longest and saddest in my life. Actually, I was not at all sure whether it was so or Laura and I settled scores on an afternoon of vice and my betrayal had been anything more than a sexual act. I felt guilty towards Irina while I engaged in sex with Laura in the atelier.
“It’s all the better that what I felt in the park has passed. Nothing more than a sexual infidelity. I’ll soon forget all about it and will perhaps love all the more my Irina…”
On the morning Laura went away. She seemed sensible and hard-boiled. A girl who regards life as a mature woman, knowing when a desire can cause pain and suffering both to herself and to those who get involved through a brief act. It had happened and would never be repeated. Never!
After and hour I felt a certain anxiety. I sensed negative energy in my bio-field. Gradually, my thoughts started filing out of my head as sheets from a printing machine. I was getting more and more confused and anxious… It seems I had to stage an exhibition! No! I had an appointment with a rich man with whom we were preparing a series of exhibitions in famous galleries all around the world. But that was not scheduled for today. Or was it?! My hand was unwilling to lift the receiver. Then my legs themselves took me to the photo-studio where I copied Laura the Raven’s snapshot. Quite an ordinary girl. No mask whatsoever. Nothing that might scare me and bind me to her. She was simply another girl. Another adventure. A girl who might inspire me to painting something. Not that Irina wasn’t inspiration enough but just anybody might once in a while permit himself the luxury or err into something out of the ordinary. The snapshot calmed me. A girl like many others. I would even forget I had slept with her… My anxiety, however did not leave me at all. It gripped me more ferociously than before once I was back in the atelier. The negative energy of my bio-field turned into an unpleasant spasm which immobilized my hands; my brain did not experience it but was also numb. In a slow trance I approached the blank canvas…
“What you see is not me but the sleepy state in which I am…”
“IF YOU WISH TO AWAKEN SOMEONE, AWAKEN YOURSELF BEFORE THAT!”
“IF YOU DO NOT FIND A WAY TO AWAKEN YOURSELF, BE SURE TO HAVE BEAUTIFUL DREAMS!”
“IF YOU BELIEVE IN DREAMS, BELIEVE IN REALITY, TOO!”
“IF YOU LIVE IN DREAMS, TURN THEM INTO TRUTH FOR OTHERS BY THE POWER OF YOUR ART!”
“IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT IS FANTASY, AND WHAT, REALITY, BELIEVE IN WHAT IS CERTAIN BUT DO NOT REJECT FANTASY, BECAUSE SOMETIMES THE UNCERTAIN THINGS ARE THE TRUE ONES.
BUT ONE MUST LIVE IN CERTAINTY IN ORDER TO COME TO KNOW THE UNCERTAIN TRUTH.”
I was writing the messages on the wall around the blank canvas on which I was about to paint. I saw candles. Naked bodies among them. Upturned bottles. Scattered ashtrays. A smell of joint. A smell of expensive perfume mixed with the revolting stench of sweat. The icy waves under the sinking “Titanic” immobilized me. She took me by the hand in order to help me board the boat. But that was perhaps a fantasy with which I could make life more beautiful if I was to harness it into my art. However, I had to believe what was certain, and the only certain thing was that I had betrayed Irina for a girl who could not in the least compare to her…
“IF YOU BETRAY YOUR BELOVED, YOU BETRAY YOURSELF. FORGIVE YOURSELF AS HE OR SHE WOULD FORGIVE BUT DO NOT DO IT ENDLESSLY BECAUSE ENDLESS FORGIVING MAKES THINGS ENDLESSLY TORMENTING!”
“IF YOU TORMENT YOURSELF YOU TORMENT YOUR BELOVED!”
“IF YOU FORGIVE YOURSELF, YOU FORGIVE YOUR FELLOW HUMAN!”
“IF A LOVE AFFAIR IS OF VALUE IT CANNOT BE DESTROYED BY VALUELESS BETRAYAL!”
“IF YOU ARE ALONE WITH YOUR PAIN, RELIEVE IT YOURSELF SO THAT THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU DOES NOT HAVE TO BEAR IT!”
“AND ALWAYS BE ALONE WITH YOUR PAIN!”
“AND ALWAYS SHARE YOUR HAPPINESS!”
“IF YOU HAVE DISOVERED THE ETERNAL WOMAN IN A GIRL, THERE CANNOT BE ANOTHER SUCH, AND IF THERE IS, WHAT YOU DISCOVERED IN THE GIRL IS NOT THE ETERNAL WOAM AT ALL,
BUT ONLY AN IMPULSE TO SEEK ETERNITY AND TO SUBJECT IT TO DOUBT!”
“What am I writing!?” I impulsively laughed , could not control myself and convulsed with laughter.
Tears of laughter came to my eyes! I pushed my head against the wall to stop myself laughing but I went on… My belly ached and I could not stand on my legs…
“What am I doing, scribbling these sayings when I simply succumbed to the temptation. I am a swine and that’s it. If it was not Irina…
… if it was not her, a woman like Maria would have misled me – she bore me fine children but never taught me love because she herself never learnt to do so. In fact, after the divorce Maria became a fine friend of mine. We ought to have been only friends all the time. Or I could have been misled by a girl like Laura who, with her masks and fantasies can do horrible harm to the unfortunate man who chooses one of her masks in order to live ‘with the sleepy state in which she is in his eyes’ while at the same time she ‘awaken sleeps’ with someone whose eyes do not see her sleepy state. I convulsed with laughter again. It was not funny…
The next day I felt like crying. Laura the Raven had quite deceived me. When I saw her off I thought she knew when a desire can cause suffering to more than one heart. Maybe she did know but took pleasure in it. Perhaps she was simply silly. I do not know was it a karmic duty or was she a tempting girl but she did the stupidest thing possible: she told Irina all about it. She did not spare her any details, telling her what pleasure she took in being with me and my pleasure in being with her. Nor did she spare her the brief phrases we exchanged while making love which were the same as those I exchanged with Irina and that was a greater betrayal than the bodily one and consequently caused greater pain.
“How romantic!” Irina said with spiteful irony. “A girl with a mask, leaning on a naked male body!”
I kept painting all night. The painting rid me of negative energy and I did not yet know that Irina had learnt I had done with her other things beside merely painting her.
“You two felt quite fine. This shows on the picture,too!”
I wanted to shout:
“She lies! Nothing happened between us! She simply wished it to be so but it did not turn out that way! Do you believe me or her?”
Sometimes a lie saves but that may result in more dangerous consequences. At that moment I was about to lie. I would have preferred to lie but I could not. Not for fear of the even more dangerous consequences but because I simply could not bring myself to it.
“She’s wearing a mask! A state of sleep in my eyes and she is going to remain masked but will no longer be mysterious and seductive, such as she is in the painting. After you already know what’s happened accept the fact that a fine picture we have now which I can burn at once… I love you, Irina. I simply got misled in fantasies. There is no love between me and her and there will never be.”
“When we were in the diving bell we both thought it was the end of our lives! It seems we won’t survive to the year 2013 and the capsule… We wanted to kill ourselves… To suffocate as we suffocate our souls with love… You are afraid and seek the embraces of another in order to grow indifferent towards me and survive. Our relationship is suicidal, my dear! If I am begging you now to sever it, it is for this reason and not because of the girl who I know cannot compare with me… “
She begged me to end our relationship! I barely could stand on my legs. I snatched the picture of Laura and was about to smash it against the wall when Irina stopped me.
“Don’t do that! It will help us go on! In this picture will be the limit of our own crazy love… The picture is marvelous. What else happened does not count as having happened any longer!
Passionately and with excitement I started reciting a portion of my poem “I Am A Sinner”
I am a sinner but a lion tomorrow,
destined to bear my cross
and in the name of my fears
to provide colours to others.
With messages I made my confession to the world
again in thy name, o, Beauty,
I strive and win
and in that strife I mature.
A breath to the north and south
is part from my starry plough
with which I’ll furrow the Cosmos
in order to sow light.
A am a man of many names,
a volcano erupting in Beauty
which becomes part of my flesh
like the crucifix, or death comes.
I can breathe in stars
in order to drink from the poison of the world;
I cannot remain alone
because you are waiting for me there…
I am a spring of water but no one is thirsty
and I am a dawn before unseeing eyes
and bread and salt, but no one is hungry
in this world of vanished dreams.
Can anyone send wind into
the concrete of my heart?
They can, but faith is needed,
and a new world law
The night is like a cast-off day
and the winter is like a shabby summer.
I was born in a September brightness
on the border between youth and mellow gold.
Even if I was born in ash,
I would again believe in Beauty,
inspired and lit up,
I would turn grayness into a picture.
The Moon is sometimes a fairy
and is herself wild.
I kiss her wet lips
and in the morning the Moon is withered and gray.
Unreasonable, unhappy and alone
mine is a poet’s vocation –
a child of a sick age,
possessed by earthly Beauty.
Frenzied brilliance and delight,
indignity I suffered and glory,
drunk on vanity and chasing after winds.
In you alone I found meaning, favorite flower!
The meridians I gather in my palms,
I discover fresh truths.
What is the meaning of this absurd world?
Is it not condensed in a single autumn leaf?!
The heart of the age is growing blind,
paintings wither in eternity
and I write in ash instead of embers.
In the Spiritual Desert of knowledge
the eyes seek out former adventures…
Ancient splendour, please,
allow me to be resurrected with you.
My soul is a broken mirror.
How am I to kill Knowledge
which did away with you?
And every rebellion is anachronism again.
And each whore would like to strip
in the throne of the Madonna.
How am I to lift the leaden eye-lids
of sacred Boredom?
Tell me how.
has a new proprietor
this is called inflation.
How can I be a sinner
when the yobs
know more about sins
unknown to myself.
How can I be holy
if I lack the Temptation
How can I criticize
when everyone’s existence
is below the critical point of survival?
How am I to be Spirit
when I cannot be bread?
How can I be bread
when everyone above is overfed?
How can I be human
when no one weeps meekly?
How can I be flesh
when it is the concubine of words?
How can I be silent
when even my bones groan?
How am I to ask
about the exact time
when the oracles converse with the stone?
How can I be naпve
in order to believe
without realizing it?
How am I to go back in time,
be a child
so that I can be consoled…
How can I be distance in the abyss?
Or an instant in Eternity?
And a seeing heart which splits
in the blind present.
How can I be a painter
when paintings themselves wither.
“To be a painter today is absurd!”
thus speak all who can do everything else.
How can I be happy
without being an artist
especially when there’s no happiness
within a narrow frame.
1. Even the idols earn a lot of money from the Word.
2. Even the last insult corresponds to my Ego!
3. Even the flowers whisper from the furrow.
4. Even the crowd consists of its individuals.
5. Even the commonplace partakes of the exotic.
6. Even the boring, of the erotic.
7. Even the absurd, of the meaningful.
8. Even the impossible, of every possibility.
9. Even my love forgets about the reason.
10. Even my intoxication is sobered by your beauty.
11. Even my lips dry up from your kisses.
12. Even your sin, from my holiness.
13. Even my sin, from your holiness.
THE LAST SUPPER WITH THIRTEEN MUSES
1. A heart speaks of you.
2. A pair of eyes can’t sleep for you.
3. An art is for you.
4. A sea whispers after us.
5. A sky joins us and parts us.
6. A star is born for you.
7. A planet rotates for us two.
8. There is one YOU and one ME.
9. The two of us together are ONE…
10. There is only one world.
11. We two are eternity.
12. There is an arrow in the heart.
13. Thirteen bows – my tender fury.
And I stop counting at this point.
And I am in an embrace with thirteen muses.
I make art with caresses
Along thirteen circles in HELL…
Thirteen horses gallop on my body.
I am burning in thirteen fires.
It is like the last supper.
With thirteen muses,
the sacred number!
But that precisely is art.
And what about LOVE?
Love is again OUTLAWED!
The possibility to be impossible,
The nature of being unnatural,
Free or even jailed
One more number after the last
And sign in a world without bearings
And a drop of dew in the desert
Boxshrubs in the iceberg
And a gate in the dead end
To survive what can
Only be thought of
To feed spirit with dead ash
And to be an evening on an early morning
And hearing in silence…
To be servant to slaves
And king of all kings
The outlines of Nothing
And wings to the worm
More absurd than the absurd
And beauty to the meaning
And yet be casual
In the game of love.
Why did I dream of Laura in my sleep? Why did I have to recall and live through it all again?
I was lying lonely in the bed drenched with sweat and my thoughts were straying. They were adrift after the dogs who were tearing apart the corpse of a cow and one of them was Irina to whom I said goodbye till the diving bell, Atlantis and Laura…
“Do you know Papa Jan?” Irina confessed to me one rainy morning. “I myself pushed you into her embraces. I accused you of fear of the final orgasm but in fact it was I who feared it and wished to dampen things between us. I wanted they would not be so acute, overwhelming, painful and beautiful verging on suicide.”
“Sometimes beauty can be murderous,” I agreed with her that morning which was rainy just as today and as the morning when she confessed to me that she herself had pushed me into unfaithfulness. The three of us – myself, Materius Rozenkreuzer and Irina, founded the New Age society in Bulgaria. A society of fresh, transcontinental thought. One thing I ften dreamt about in my sleep but did not wish to remember or perhaps wished too keenly to recall was when the hypnotizing voice of Materius penetrated from the neighbouring lecture hall to us who were making love. I was not familiar with that wise man whose voice wrapped our bodies. Nor did she know him quite well or it would not have come about in this way. Not so beautiful, at any rate… His was the voice of a medieval scholar. He was addressing a small audience of initiates. A magus who existed perhaps only in our imaginations while his words, so full of meaning, sank into our bodies. It was not sex like any other. The two of us had somehow found a way of unlocking the gates of our bodies. Making love, we were learning something that we could not learn by sight or sound. Simply, we could not. These were old verities, set down on paper long ago, learnt by rote, denied, refuted, cast off and once again elevated on the latest pedestal made of gold and mud…
“Every living creature wins a victory…” was it the wise man in the lecture hall next door who said it or was it one of our voices?
She was seated on a desk, with wide open thighs and I was penetrating her. We resembled naughty university students but it was not naughty college love-making. We resembled the most audacious adulterers but it was not the latest adulterers’ impudence. We did not know him! He was not my friend or her husband but a creature who led a separate existence in our brains…
“Love always wins!” did he say it or did I or she…
We went on making love and absorbing the age-old words into our bodies. And they trembled with the horror of the meaning. These were not the ears of a parroting student but real opened bodies which had sensed the horror of wisdom which had realized the loneliness of human existence and the brutal love of the struggle for survival…
“I carry all my wealth on myself…” I whispered. And we listened to what came from the room next door – that which loved us and horrified us deadly because we understood the words of the ancient Wise Man and they were stern like the trembling of a living body:
“What did we invent Enthusiastic Geniuses for…” resounded the words Materius Rozenkreuzer… They burned us and hurt us together with the thrills of our bodies:
“What did we invent Enthusiastic Geniuses for in our devout optimism of an initial revelation?
That of the first mankind with a clear purpose precise volition and titanic judgements.
When Emotion was firing straight at the world’s brain, meaning was born of even the smallest suffering.
What was the use of the centuries-old inspiration of the hundreds of geniuses and of the mathematicians who discerned objective joy in the hidden God?
What did the scholars spend nights of deliberations on? What did the poets kill in their own selves?
Whom did the prophets die for? Whom did the saints come to life for?
Whom did the talented go without food for? What did Geometry join Matter for?
Why did Painting discover its hand in God? Why did Algebra join Music? Why was Harmony stolen by the Numbers? Why did heaven grant emotions? Why did Beauty leave Nature and entered the Mind? Why did the Mind replace Reality? Why did the grammatical Subject replace God? Or why the noun replaced space? Space entered into God when the noun entered into the grammatical Subject…
What did Archimedes work so hard for? What did Socrates laugh at? What self-importance did Plato bequeath us? What did Aristoteles wonder at?
What did Augustin pine for? What excited Plotinus?
So that today a piglet in jeans can submit her pink asshole to a metallic penis?!…”
The words echoed, reverberated… They dissolved in our bodies, smashing and tearing them apart, blasting them and re-charging them, denied them and bequeathed themselves to them… They made them feel what they by themselves could not. It was love! It was execution! It was the imperceptible breath of the ancient witch called inspiration… An answer to all the questions which the Ancient Wise Man asked us in order to protect us from despair and to stimulate us to make fresh desperate attempts to raise our sentiments above everything felt by worldliness. “Wherefore…”
Irina whispered in an unintelligible language. She may have been trying to paint a picture with her vocal cords and with it to tell me what she wanted to but what even she, Irina, could not express in her words… The lecture we were then absorbing in our whole bodies was later to be included in Materius Rozenkreuzer’s new book “The Rebellion of the Mediocrities”. He had already written the preface to the first book of the trilogy “The Papa Jan Gallery”. There, as elsewhere, he expressed his opinion of me: “Where the gods are frozen in silly self-admiration Papa Jan, not submitting to his own joy, indifferent to his latest success, bored with the ovations he knew would come, launches on his next adventure, no matter whether it is now intellectual or not because in the warped kingdom of life every exploit is correct.
As ever, he is both a monk and a warrior at the same time. All these transformations of his soul – poet, painter, collector and patron of the arts, the originator of a new style of painting, viz., “Energy Lizism”, of a new spiritual teaching, viz., “Janoism”, nature healer – are only a human and pale expression of a prouder and inexhaustible passion: Beauty!
But dissatisfied with the tempestuous life and cheap narcissism of an aesthete, he tries to encounter this beauty in a more bitter and melancholy incarnation – Truth. This offensive and arrogant feminine form of Beauty becomes his final beloved. He is a volcano of energy who does not care in what shape it will be cast. Ever excited by the artistic stimulus, be it Earth, Woman or Idea, he admits only one unshared passion: his own contempt. That is why we see him at all times strolling about with a half-contemptuous and self-critical smile on his face. That is why he is all the time chasing his own vision like a strange image, which yet has been painted thousands of times. Alone with the millions of images in the soul and praying for communing only with his haughty “I”. This energy ensures him dignity in loneliness, but his noble nature condescendingly rejects it in public. Proud of the cosmos of visions and ideas belonging to him and modest with his human pictures which he paints in hours of boredom ( three hundred canvases a year), with a melancholy ironic smile he ruminates in loneliness upon himself – whether I am more talented than productive? His embracing of an ideal, logic or compassion, or a new style in art is always, in his case, an outpouring of generous ecstasy. Besides being an author and artist, Papa Jan is also a nature healer, making use of bio-energy. The energy in his paintings produces curative effect with extra-sensory activity. The energy of his extra-sensory capability has turned into energy of colour, from a capability of the individual it has been transferred to his art works which, once freed from the artist, themselves alone perform Art-Therapy-Communication. Inconvenienced by his own constant flow of energy in art and in life and seeking to rid himself of its pressing power, Papa Jan had no other way but to launch a novel style in pictorial art viz., “Energy Lizism”. It is a style of the universal Energy Dissolution between colours and forms. Throughout his career the missionary Papa Jan has helped thousands to survive physically and spiritually.”
Why did I recall all that? I had already bid farewell to her. She remained my grand passion inspiring my painting, appeared in my dreams as a fiddle playing in the desert and turned my words into verses. She enveloped me like the pleasant breath of summer. She helped me master yet another form of art: having a beautiful life, seeing beautifully, breathing beautifully, feeling beauty in pain and not having the psychosis of a single human being but being a multiplicity of personalities and unity of nature. We only needed to forgive each other; to abandon our amorous egocentricity in order to have love across distances and admit in the end that this was not a whim of miserable, unprotected children with unsatisfied erotic impulses but a truth of existence. Stone walls exist also in places where we do not see them. Paths often diverge even when both persons are travelling in the same direction. Distances and brutal separation are a reality but love can stretch out arms across a distance not merely of a few miles but of billions of light years.
Irina’s demon became, after we had forgiven each other, a tender spirit who was to live in my breast, making me richer and more splendid without wounding me. It was silent, ethereal sometimes acquiring her tender features while they – in the colour of the grayest and softest pencil – disperse rapidly in order to leave a radiance behind. Ever since we forgave each other and I walked into the sea-waves to wash the blood off myself. Ever since I let my pony go free and it returned to its owner and I told myself that a pony CAN return to its master but a beloved, never, because it does not have a master just as there is no master over time.
After that I got rid of the habit of recalling Irina. I had brief affairs with other women. The briefer and shoddier they were, the emptier and impoverished I felt after each of them and the tighter I clung to my art. I was excited by the fleeting thrill, which left me free and calm. Hadn’t Irina propelled me to that, too?
It kept raining and I was painting a rain-soaked nude girl.She bore a resemblance to her but it wasn’t Irina. It was a common woman who bore the features of erotic thrill which pours down like rain and then passes off. Sometimes it leaves behind real floods. Occasionally, only puddles and mud. Then evaporation follows.Then more rain… Sometimes there’s nothing but drought and desert land. And a tender violin sound – tender, nostalgic, passionate, weeping, desirous feverishly – a voice from body and soul, a voice of tender strings , a voice of loneliness and endless prayer for rain… A desert… Desire… Rain… Rain-soaked girl. A tender spirit in the chest inplace of the predatory demon chasing you. Love and once more love. A wound and another wound. I need not go back to my memories which had of Irina. What mattered was the present day.
The present could could give me everything that the past could take away because the memories could come back like a pony to its master but the events of the past could not return… Why should I dream and then recall past moments one after another.
I kept on painting the rain-soaked girl. The rain kept on, off again, on again, occasionally showering, drawing strange abstract figures on my window-pane which alternated from one abstract picture into another next moment. One nude after another. One drizzling thrill after another. Drops dripping one after another; time running off in no definite direction and dusk approached. My telephone was ringing.I had an odd feeling. It was like a thrill in premonition of something splendid or at any rate welcome happening. A tremour of the hand. Springing from the left side of my chest, going slowly down my left arm and reaching the forefinger of my left hand. There followed two stronger tremours on the feet. I was thinking of something pleasant and these thoughts didn’t go away, no matter whether I actually wished them to do so or not. You wish them away because you would rather be not disappointed if the thrills should prove false. On the other hand you don’t, because the wish to enjoy the hope that the thing you want to happen even apparently unlikely to do so, is more powerful than anything. All the day, while painting the rain-soaked girl, I kept thinking of Irina.
It was the last day of August, my vow to her had long been broken and I had long forgiven her demon yet all the day I kept recalling it as before when I engaged her demon in a fight.
I timidly lifted the receiver… My feeling was beyond any description. The tremour all over my body which were like little rivulets turned into a flood pouring down from all sides and in all dimensions. It was she. The same one. The same Irina with radiance as on the elevator.The one I franticall desired, whom I hurt and was hurted by her, whom I came to hate and with whom I later again came to mutual forgiveness.The one I had fought and been reconciled with. The knight, pursued in the darkness. The principal courtesan of the Indian prince, the mistress from the sinking “Titanic”, the belle in the hotel room whom I had left alone, the woman from the Atlantis, the one from the “Painting with the Jokers, and the picture of the snakes.The nude Irina. The real Irina, facing the picture with the phali. The one with whom I made love in the snow leaving in out our imprints and which were soon to vanish with the melting of it, to evaporate and to fall as raindrops back to earth but not upon Sinemorets where we were to make love again under the hot rocks…
My voice froze… I was not aware of any emotion whether an infinite gladness of infinite terror.
“Papa Jan, Janino!”
“That person didn’t exist for you for over a year!”
My words were coming out of my mouth without control, piercing my chest. Like a dagger. A cold dagger, yet simple words:
“I love you, I still do! Although we forgave each other, yet there can be no forgiveness! Love never forgives!But after all we did forgive each other and before that I saw you as a demon. A demon wishing to destroy me, chasing me all over the place and nearly killing me several times. That demon did not allow me to fall in love again. He made me go back to my past, time and time again. Nothing mattered to meas I had no shoulder to cry on and he was an evil demon who destroyed everything as soon as I managed to accomplish something. For a time my life went on in the grip of my suicidal passion.I love you still. My life has seen nothing exiting. All day today I have been painting a rain-soaked girl which was and wasn’t you. The shadows of our caresses still spring from my memory to my mind. They tear at my flesh with nails of broken glass at night. They hover on every page of the book I happen to read. I have become a Russian prince, I think I told you that. But it seems you couldn’t hear me. And now I am the most unhappy prince in exile. Exiled from love not from my land.But isn’t love my true native land? What do I mean by that? I don’t really know. Idon’t know… What am I to say? I love you stil!!
A voilin sounding in the desert. The last firm string of the harp of my soul. An unhappy psalm of earthly love. A shattered tower I had erected but misleadingly it came down. What am I saying? Irina is mine. You, Irina, you damsel-warrior and swallow! I hear you voice. I hear it anyway but when it rings out of my very soul it is sad somehow and when I hear it over that monstrous product of modern technology, the telephone, you voice vibrates with life…
I reached out for the brief-case in which I kept my medicines. On rare occasions I take sedatives. Instead of opening it I kicked it and it hit the bed opposite me. I’ll have none of those.
I was about to experience happiness and misery to the full with a pure heart. Even if I can’t bear them I want to feel them in my bones pure and naked – such as Irina and I always dreamt of being… I couldn’t manage saying anything of that which for moment occurred to me. I was about to get confused. She surely felt like that, too, despite her lofty verbosity. Powerful passions make a mess of reason itself. Speech becomes confused, running ahead of thought. Then the thoughts themselves come and go chaotically, like free electrones, like the muddled human destinies of our world , starting to follow the stream of being. To make us more genuine, nearer to our own selves than our own psyche does… I also felt horror… Somewhere down, in the bottom drawer of my consciousness lay the fear of the demon.
The demon with the sharp nails. The one who came back to me in order to arouse the suicidal passion of his sleepy condition. The picture on the window had not ceased changing. Masks dropped down. Countless masks were they, uncovering before my eyes the faces of the countless women I had touched without genuinely penetrating, with heart inside their bodies… “Can a heart sink into a vagina?!” thought I on the verge of laughter. Unfortunately, it can!
Quite a few male hearts have sunk in vaginas and have been torn apart by the little crocodiles of feminine immuninity. Saints’ heads have been cut off, entire nations have been ruined. There have been great deeds to no avail whatsoever to this world which merits nothing noble at all dividing as it does man from man and even love from hatred…
“I often dialed your number but your telephone… Sometimes it was engaged at others nobody lifted the receiver!! My cutting words rolled on. Cutting myself and her. As if it had not been my greatest wish for more than a year, to hear her voice while the day before she had made a trivial feminine misdemeanor.
“You could have written to me Irina! You write splendid letters! I could have written a letter to you instead of more and more poems…”
“…busy, were you? I know! Very busy! The sorceress predicted it to you. A glorious future and very successful career while somewhere down below your peak on which you delight in your greatness talking to eagles, I, the human being, stand. A man of broken heart and overexcited soul!”
My last words made her laugh. I laughed, too though I did not feel like it. My spontaneity of speech was something quite alien for her. She could not change the refinement of her stream of words even when she was actually spontaneous. She was madly pleased when amid the refined words I blurted out something raw and vulgar. Well, this was part of my emotionality and was invariably funny.
“I thought you had forgotten me!” I at last said in a balanced serious manner. “I thought that all was over between us and I no longer existed as far as you were concerned, except maybe as a memory without me being even aware whether that possible memory was pleasant or not at all. Or could it have been an utterly non-descript one…”
“You mustn’t think like that!” she said sadly and somewhat reproachfully. “Things are like that, Jan. There is too much of that medieval sentiment about a pure, sunny and radiant love for which obstacles are no more than ornaments. We are not characters in a soap opera or a bestselling happy romance. Our romance is quite grave and can only be read slowly if it is to be understood and move us. And why should it be a moving one and why on earth should we read it at all? It must be lived through and the expectations of it are part of its plot. You have said again and again I ought to have confidence in you. You so often said it that I have even lost it. You ought to have confidence in me too and if not in me at least in your own self. You cannot be abandoned although you, yourself, abandon many things in your pursuit of the whole world. Because you want to remain poor, lest you lose something in your wandering and in your adventures which might make you regret you made this step…”
“Haven’t we been wasting too many words now? After all it takes only a few minutes to write a letter.”
“Life itself takes only a short time. And I have travelled a lot.I spent some time among the Indians. I polished up my English, worked on my doctor’s dissertation and soon expect its defence. In San Francisco, California!”
“I am greatly pleased to hear that, Irina!” I could say no more. I was truly happy for her sake.
“I thought I had forgiven you but I still love you. I had faith in you even when I thought I didn’t have faith, even when I was miserable. Now that I am listening to you and see how you have lived I realize that I haven’t been right, and yet you should have found a way to contact me.”
She told me her e-mail address. From now on we were again to exist for each other… What she went on to say sounded like a most beautiful dream:
“See you soon, Papa Jan. Ina couple of months I’ll be back in Bulgaria and we’ll be together again.
I have always loved you and still do.”
It was still raining and I kept on walking about the streets, yielding to the embrace of the rain we planted in the snow together with our imprints only to melt and turn into the cloud which will find me in the happiest day of the most unhappy year of my life. The raindrops made love to me and everyone of them was a kiss from Irina. I roamed without direction, occasionally losing my way but this wandering was not in a world of despair but within my happy soul. I walked about in the park , embracing the trees, feeling their thrill.It was the thrill of the fig-tree from Atlantis, the thrill of my beloved woman. The whisper of the tree under the raindrops sounded as an incantation we endlessly repeated to each other:
“I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you!”
Did human beings need any other words at all? In order to split the atom. In order to harness it in virtual dreaming. In order to dress themselves and not feel naked in front of Nature and God… I undressed, embraced the trees and responded to their whisper:
“I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you!”
The shepherd’s hut had long burnt down. The ring of fire had not hurt our bodies. Just then rain began to pour down. The demonic fire had been extinguished in the angelic caress. The tree was responding to my caresses. It was whispering in her voice how fine it was and I was again on the Varna seashore, with the whole Universe, the rain all the time changed the picture it was painting on the window of my empty atelier and on it the Varna shore turned into the coast at Balchik where we were drowning and surviving in order to experience greater delight at an orgasmic demise. Then the picture moved to the coastal village of Sinemorets. In the pink and blue room. The pink merged into the blue and from the rocks at Sinemorets we found ourselves at Atlantis. The pony was returning to its master.Our pony was choosing its life. The tree was whispering. Lightnings flashed. A tree near me became dust and ashes. I felt sudden terror, realising the danger to me but it sweetened the delight and I still more passionately began embracing and kissing the tree. Lightnings flashed. The wind raged stronger and stronger. Branches dropped on the ground. Thunder deafened me yet I was still making love to her. I was making love to my love. The dangerous love. The one which resembled an abyss. Life in death. Death, reminding me that each and every moment of life was precious which must be lived through. To be lived fully as the radiance of a full moon. Like the Absolute and Infinity. Like a passing thrill. As if there is nothing beyond that which you feel and which is born of your eyes that very instant. From the Lunar Orgasm and the universal dissolution of the vanished Atlantis to a leap of despair out of the hotel window. Life until death. A love-life. A love, experienced amidst the trees crashing under thunder…
When the sun rose I was walking barefoot amidst the puddles and only laughed. Cars were passing me by splashing me with water from the puddles but I only laughed and laughed. I had had a full experience of evrything in a single night. Frm the moment when I touched the blank canvass with my brush to the one in which I lifted the receiver and heard my beloved’s voice telling me “I love you!” The alpha and omega of all nuances a body and a soul can feel and the breath in all dimensions. The feeling that each and every nerve of every man, animal and plant that have been born and of those yet unborn crossed my mind in an ultra-quick and ultra-full night. I was with Irina’s most divine and spectral image. The most wonderful and loving image… Life was starting afresh. The pony was returning to its master. The old love – deep in the heart which did not manage to dismiss it. Time was returning with it, though only as a memory…
The cogwheels cleave into one another and start spinning in an endless game of love similar to that of the Earth around its axis.They imitate Time. Watches are actors who play on the stage of life the role of the unfamiliar in the invisible time.The watches are splendid actors presenting the tragedy of passing time and the things lost in it, more tragic than they are in actual fact. They act their parts so well that we believe them and shed tears for the things lost which perhaps aren’t lost at all. Which perhaps still live in other dimensions and even if they don’t, yet are perpetuated in memories preventing us to regard the present soberly but helps us view it in a more balanced manner because the completely sober person is inevitably imbalanced, failing to see in the present nothing else but the dreary hole into which he will sink some day.
Memeories intoxicate one. They recall moments of unhappiness when one has perhaps thought of laying in one’s grave . This is followed by the next moment which one could have missed had one sunk in one’s hole but actually that next moment was very happy – as heppy as when one receives a call from one’s beloved whom one hasn’t heard for more than a year and who says she still loves you and you both will be infinitely happy. That is why we need memories. They are a narcotic art. An entertainment without which we would be too serious. So serious that our life would not be like a life, or at least we would have been so holy that we wouldn’t be human but rather angelic. But in fact how do I know angels are serious? If they exist and are really taking care of us I even ought to be sure of the opposite, viz., that they possess a sense of humour which is occasionally black humour even. As time passes, however, the black turns grey and when the heavenly brush touches it with some pink and green the painting becomes splendid.The mechanic artists try to impose some sort of order upon the picture and do it with great virtuosity but they don’t paint the truth.
Clocks and watches aren’t real time, yet I adore those splendid works of art, which produce art in their turn…So, the pony is returning to its stables. So, Irina and I both are once again in the town of Svishtov where such a long part of my life has passed and which radically changed my future qualitatively speaking. Once, I studied at the Svishtov Economics Institute. I made the acquaintance of an old man who came to love me more than a son of his own because I looked after him as I would probably have looked after my own father had he survived to a serene old age and grown to be a helpless old man who needs a young person around to survive yet another day, and another, and yet another till the day comes when the breath no longer seeks survival but relief… That old man came of a family which had been rich in the past and despite the communist regime his material affluence was considerable and it was entirely bequeathed to me. The old, picturesque house where he lived and which was now mine stood exactly opposite a splendid and also age-old and picturesque bell-tower… I gazed at the clock through my video, tenderly caressed the telephone, and hands of the clock, which registered the passing of time, recalled to my mind the moments when Irina and I had made lovein the old house facing the clock-tower.
I half-closed my eyes, heard only the click of the clock-hands above my video but saw Irina standing in front of the antique mirror with an exqusitely wood-carved frame… Behind her was mirrored the moon and the clock-hand of the clock-tower under it which had never before stopped its course had now stopped at a minute before midnight. It vanished in Irina’s hair which in this light seemed golden.There was something sinister in all that beauty. It seemed as if Irina was trying to hold back in her hair the clock-hand in order to prevent the arrival of the ill-boding hour.That clock had never before stopped but now I saw in the mirror the held back clock-hand of the tower under the moon, just above Irina’s bust.
I came close to her and embraced her. I squeezed her breasts in the cups of my hands. There was intitially no change in her expression.She was gazing at her naked body standing between the moon and the clock within the mirror frame which now resembled the frame of a picture in Gothic style. I massaged her breasts.Two dark clouds apppeared on both sides of the tower while the mirror looked like a pair of black wings which I had spread over the town. A Gothic painting describing a beast entering a maiden’s room , possessed by the passionate thrills of the full moon, facing the mirror in order to delight in her nakedness and to fantasize to herself. Something like what was actually happening. Half human half beast with dark wings came to stand in front of her minutes before midnight and was caressing her breasts. A moan came out of Irina’s lips.I expected the hand of the clock to start moving again but it was still standing. Then I forgot about the clock-tower and as I was a beast, I grabbed the maiden in a beast-like fashion and threw her upon the bed.I was about to deprive her of her purity, thus depriving her of her power. I was to make her depraved as myself with relish and we were to live forever in vice. Irina groaned. She, too, had become a part of the Gothic scenario. Her flesh desired the sin, her soul didn’t. Although she hadn’t known a man she wished to make love to minotaur.
Then I painted the picture “The Minotaur Who Takes Possession of A Girl” – Irina’s favourite picture and after it a whole series of “Minotaurs, Taking Possession of Women”. She braced herself to push him away but she couldn’t and in the end she yielded to his embrace only to experience the greatest delight. The antique bed screeched like a poorly greased clock-work.The floor rattled like thunder and lightning and then its sound could not be distinguished from that of the actual thunder and lightning which sounded just after I penetrated into her while she, having delighted in the pleasure of the original sin and its sweetness was a real woman once again and not a yearning girl facing the mirror…A wild woman who had come to know the winged beast, having forgiven his transgression and having pitied him for being a beast with a man’s soul. After he had seduced her she had made him innocent and in his innocence he was pained himself for having deprived her of her own virtue. She was caressing his head and whispered tenderly to him and revealed to him a world full of vice and pain with delight and suffering with heroic vengeance and holy delight with vileness and beauty with flowers and deserts with sick brains and sick communities. A world stemming from her thighs. Under the purple moon she herself was of purple colour. She reminded me for a moment of the whore from St John the Evangelist’s Apocalypse. The world came to a finish a minute before midnight just as my finish came upon her breasts…
We were lying down together, panting and sweating. I had turned my back on her while she, embracing me, was fingering the hairs upon my breast…
Hairs? They reminded me of something comical.Of the hairs of my shaven beard. I shaved rarely but at that time I played an extraordinary art-trick which hit all the front pages… Hairs!I did not laugh. It was extremely odd. Sinister and terrific.The clock-hand, stuck like a nail in Christ’s flesh, was still stuck on the minute before midnight!
“What’s the matter? It resembled a Gothic dream.”
“Gothic dreams are full of horror.”
“But full of beauty as well.”
It again seemed to me that the whore from the Apocalypse was lying next to me and was not called Irina but bore the name of Hades.
“It’s full of terror mostly! Ghosts. Huge spears falling from the sky. Souls inbuilt into oval objects!An axe-like pendulum, which, slowly oscillating, descends upon a sinner chained to the floor of the cellar by the Inquisition…”
“Besides that, there are also women who liberate with a kiss the evil knight from his accursed armour… And at last the dream came to an end.”
“Oh, no! Look!” said I and pointed at the oval mirror. “The clock-hand has never before stopped. This clock-tower is ancient and the clock has never stopped.”
“Let’s switch it on,” said she with childish simple-mindedness and the Purple-coloured Whore from the Apocalypse became the little Alice in Wonderland. And I became a child. I kissed her childishly. Then in a childish fashion we began playing adults, till in the end we felt our bodies were those of mature people and what we were doing was not a game at all.Irina’s face was touching the mirror and I was pressing her again and again.The mirror got unhinged. Four hands simultaneously took hold of it…
“It would be a pity to lose this antique,” Irina siad. “It would be a pity to have a seven-year-long unhappy love affair. Let’s go and wind up this clock…”
I fumbled for quite a long time in the mechanism till I was soiled with grease all over and the clock-hands at last started moving again. A pleasnt sound of one piece of matter touching another.Cogged wheels which sink into one another in order to start rolling. And as they roll on, to sink -come up – sink – come up – sink – come up….. one into another. Rolling endlessly in the theatre of beauty in which they act the role of Time. Well-oiled in grease, Irina and I were doing something similar to what the cogwheels were doing. We sank and came up, came up and sank into one another bewteen two huge sharpened monsters , rotating on either side of us and which might have torn us into peieces had they caught on us. How could this have occurred to us at all while we were cogwheels ourselves which marked time with brilliant play-acting…
Our bodies soaked profusely in orgiastic juice and machine grease, we climbed onto the dome of the clock itself. What image could now be reflected in my antique mirror?A purple moon, a clock standing at two o’clock after midnight and two naked almost mythical creatures perched on the clock-hand who had acted their role in the theatre of time better than it had its own. They set it in motion in order to be separated by it some day. Maybe because they realized time must go on. The pendulum resembling an axe must cut up life into moments of happiness and unhappiness so that one experiences still more intensely the fullness of happiness and come to know the depth of unhappiness…We did not think of that but that is why it seems we set the clock in motion… Besides, sex between the cogwheels is simply fantastic…
Chasing each other up and down the clock-tower, climbing down the two pendulums of the bell, catching up one another mere centimetres away from the predatory wheels, knocking down each other and making love again and again. Then dangling again on the pendulums while the world around us goes on and on with time as we enact a world daringly in love rather than destroying itself. Between the clock pendulums and timelessness… Superb sex. As that front the oval mirrors!
With Alice and the Purple Harlot, but above all with Irina herself!
We were lying next to each other and Irina kept toying with the hairs on my chest. Then I thought of something which might have made me laugh, but for the intense, somewhat sombre and very beautiful recollection of that one night. While she was toying with the hairs on my chest I remembered the hairs which miserably dropped into the sink when in a hurry to keep an important business appointment I spoiled the shape of my beard. At first I fell into a rage. Then I took a philosophical and even somewhat supersticious point of view. Philosophically I regarded the misfortune of spoiling my beard as an inevitable incident with which I had to to put up. Superstition whispered to me that it could bring me luck. A change in your appearance is bound to bring you luck. This is how even the most brave and fanatic enemies of superstition sometimes pluck up courage. Be that as it may.
My anger passed into a humorous mood. I shaved off the beard but philosophy and superstition none the less, I regretted its removal.
“It’s summer time after all, isn’t it! I would have been too hot with a beard and moreover my face needs some suntan,” I kept on being regretful.
I was sorry about regretting that. I was in a bad temper because I had no wish to turn up at an important business appointment in a melancholy mood and shaved off the rest of the hair around the back of my neck. I could not help bursting into laughter and laughed longer than a normal person would. The hairs on the little statue on which Lora the Raven had leant surfaced in my memory. A mean-spirited meddler had produced them using smoke. Well, that’s what I call avant-gardism in applied art. I don’t know why I also thought of genitals blackened with smoke and hairs but the memory which thne excited me now made me laugh…
“What’s the matter with you Papa Jan?Was your mind inside the beard as Samson’s strength had been in his long hair?”
I again laughed. Long, madly, irrepressibly. A plump hairless face with hardly a single wrinkle was looking at me from the mirror. It evoked that of Buddha. The resemblance definitely diverted me. A single slip of the razor could all at once turn you into a divinity. There could be no face like mine. Except that of Buddha… The doorbell rang. Opening the door, I faced the annoyed countenance of my dear Rozenkreutzer. He seemed to be looking for his wife. Seeing me, he gave a smile which usually lay hidden behind his mask of irony. For the first time he was sincerely smiling. Like a child. A merry child, unburdened with the intellectual achievements of the whole of humanity or with the hardships of everyday life and the elementary worldly wisdom of an ordinary man, sharing the same body and soul with the genius.
Facing me, was a smiling boy indeed.
“Are you trying to look like Buddha?” said he, donning his ironic mask again.
“What do you expect? It’s what you might call applied art with its own face. What’s up, mate?”
“Irina is in a fit of erotic exultation. I wonder if you have anything to do with that condition.”
I had expected this moment. Yet I had hoped all the time to be spared that bitter cup. Only an instant before I had been laughing and viewing the world through brightly lit glasses, I saw the comic craziness of it all and had such a light-hearted view of things that I felt in heaven above. An instant after, I found that the world is a terribly serious place and every dance party has its consequences and you cannot be in love with the wife of the friend you so highly regard. We were not in the middle ages or in the wild west which was all to the good for otherwise I would have been the bad guy in the story.
Dantes took Pushkin’s life. But had we really changed sides in such a duel? Hadn’t we imparted a slightly different aspect to these encounters. A shaven beard and Papa Jan becomes Buddha. An outdated fashion of duels and pistols is behind us. Oh dear God! What’s to be done in such a case? Materius smiled at me like a child for the first time. Damn it all! Is he a Rozenkreuzer? This is my friend – the husband of my beloved. My remarkable rival in love whom I could kill with a single slap on the face. No that could never be. It couldn’t. It would have been extraordinary even for my extraordinary life.
“What’s the matter with you?” asked Rozenkreutzer and for the second time smiled without the slightest hint of irony. “Pathologically libidinous exultations make Irina behave oddly.”
I anticipated that his next word would deal such a blow at me that I would be the victim in the duel. And he – Rozenkreutzer – would be the killer of the me, Papa Jan, an artist of genius.
“I think it has something to do with you or at any rate it could be so, because I am not connoissuer of painting though I can perceive the metaphysical uneasiness of the authour of the painting and evaluate its philosophical meaning. Irina has been painting all night.I cannot describe it. You ought to see for yourself what she has done…”
“What, devil take it…?”
I was suppressing my laughter. My anxiety had passed but even if smiling, Rozenkreutzer was more anxious than I.
“Won’t you tell me what it’s all about?”
“She has made a self-portrait. She has covered it all over with phalli.”
Oh no, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I rushed down the stairs leaving Rozenkreutzer behind. I had had too much to put up with that day. That damned shaved beard! I did not wish Materius seeing me bursting with laughter. When I faced the painting I was dumbstruck.Until a short time before I had been bursting with laughter and my hundred-kilogram body was rolling ten floors down from my atelier along the staircase and now I was so aroused by the picture that neither my lungs nor heart could stand all that pressure any longer.
To begin with, the woman on the picture was not professor Irina but the Lunar Irina. Secondly, the self-portrait depicted her even more naked than any nude could conceivably be. Under her flesh one could discern her secrets, the secrets covered by the skin just as rags and tatters cover a naked body. On the self-portrait flesh could be discerned like a night-gown under which was visible not lingerie but much more private parts than those we are used to imagine as private. And thirdly those were not “phalli” but “pricks”. If you wonder what is the difference let me tell you it’s simply that the phallus is what it is and the prick is also what it is.
“Instinctual and passionate!” said I simply. “You have never managed colour so well before.”
“I tried to overcome myself.”
“But instead of coming out of yourself you have dug very deeply inside yourself.I have been wondering why I had a wet dream last night…”
I was aroused yet I was in a hurry to keep my important business appointment.
The first topic of the conversation I started with the Spanish gallery manager of Bulgarian origin was why I had shaven off my beard.
“In summer I always shave it off to get suntan,” I replied and then I thought of the self-portrait with the phalli and then of the hair-covered statue… I somehow managed to keep a straight face till the gallery manager said that this way I looked like a sumo wrestler. He also expressed regret that the exhibition in Spain would be postponed by a month but I no longer gave damn about that. I was in high spirits. Buddha, a sumo wrestler, hair-covered statue and a “self-portrait of woman with phalli”…
“Do you know why I shaved my beard?” I whispered to him as though communicating to him a secret of great historical importance. “Of late, I have begun painting hairless nudes. I will stick the hairs from my beard onto the more private parts of female bodies in that series. Then I’ll stage an auction and whoever wants to will be in possession not only of the signature but also of hairs from the beard of the artist Papa Jan which are symbols of his individuality, isn’t that so?”
The gallery manager choked on the gin which he was sipping just as I disclosed my secret to him. He looked around and realizing no one had seen him discretely wiped off drops of gin from his chin and then burst out laughing.
“Papa Jan, you’ll drive me mad! Can you imagine Papa Jan’s beard upon the private parts of a female body…”
“Oh, be quiet, please. This is still a secret. I’m afraid lest somebody should steal my copy-right on this idea.”
“It deserves to be stolen but no-one’s beard is so famous as that of Papa Jan. Well, there are other famous bearded men like Marx and Hemingway but none of them is a painter…”
He raised the glass of gin but again put it down on the table because he was about to choke once more.
“Neveretheless, I promise to be discrete. And what name will you give to the series? “The Auburn Wantons”? ha-ha-ha-…
How “discrete” he was I learnt the very next day. Perhaps he had had his regular daily amount of gin which he couldn’t when he was with me. The story of how Papa Jan had shaven his beard in order to plant hairs on the “private parts” of female bodies on his latest series of paintings was on the pages of the entire press . From the newspapers I learnt that I had priced each one of my paintings five hundred thousand dollars because besides the Papa Jan signature the buyer would get also a portion of the most famous “live beard” which would moreover be served on the sweetest piece of stuff. I also read a story which reported that a well-known American woman-painter regarded what I did as an act of masculine arrogance and in revenge she shaved her…., painted me and placed my beard in the midst of her hairs. Yet another story reported I had shaved my body top to bottom as my beard alone wasn’t enough to cover all the paintings with hairs…
In the evening Irina asked me about all that razzle-dazzle and I told her the truth, viz., that it was all media rubbish, although – to be precise – a parallel to her self-portrait “Irina, The Nude”… The press sometimes works miracles. Unintentionally, a word slipped from my lips which had such tremendous consequences.
Ultimately, my awkward shave-off actually brought luck to me. The hairs from my beard remained in the soap-box and with them I indeed covered two paintings of nude vaginas. I had no problem selling them at once…
Irina was toying with the hairs on my chest when I recalled that funny and lucky period of my life but the clock-hand of the tower stood still at one minute before midnight and that was not funny. We had to set the clock moving again…
I was alone in bed opposite the oval mirror, staring at the clock reflected in it. I was awaiting the minute before midnight when Irina, shadowy, dark, on cloudy wings, would come to me and everything will be as before… She arrived but in a different image. She penetrated through my nostrils, emanating an antique odour, mixed with feminine perfume and a precious memory – an odour of passion, desire for a return. The clock did not stand still at the minute before midnight but went on ticking resolutely towards the end. If there was an end , that is, if the Lunar Oragsm is the end itself…
“SHOULD YOU FEAR THE END, YOU ARE ON THE VERGE OF IT! IF YOU TRULY FALL IN LOVE – THAT ALREADY IS THE END! SHOULD YOU GET SCARED THEN YOU’LL FOREVER REMAIN ON THE VERGE OF LOVE WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO ENJOY IT EVEN IF YOU HAVE COME TO KNOW IT EROTICALLY.”
You’ll remain the melancholy hand of an antique clock,standing still a minute before midnight.
Yes, the end is always a fresh start. Falling in love,too.The orgasm. You should not halt at the threshold. You ought to alter the day without being afraid of the night before the next day.For over a year I lived in constant fear that everything had come to an end. In fact one day of the love between Irina and me had moved on but the next one had not yet arrived – the day on which we were to meet.
I had an infantile fear of loneliness at night, having quite forgotten that then we repaired the clock and it moved on.Following the clock-hand , we had fresh experience and fresh lunar orgasms. I was lost in a reverie and she was a spectral flavour which brought to my mind our visit to the town of Separeva Banya where we stayed at the antique house of Tanya – a great friend of mine. We have always loved antiquities and after the occasion at the clock tower we loved these things more than ever before and Tanya had anyway been for a long time inviting us to her country house. We started on the way to a different destination but in the meantime we decided on a brief stop-over at Separeva Banya. We spent a fantastic night at Tanya’s country house and as we were leaving we saw the first storks of the season. We wished each other happiness and stopped in order to enjoy the sight of the beautiful birds. When they flew away we climbed into their nest.
“I want their white wings!”she said to me.
“And I want you!” I replied.
“Will you give me their white wings?”
“Will you be able to fly on them?”
“I will, if only you provide me with them.”
“But the storks are migratory birds.And what if I provide them to you and some day you, stuck to your white wings, fly away and leave me alone?”
“I’ll never leave you, Jan! Never!”
A passionate kiss. The nest shook, nearly overturning.
“Shall we stop it? It’s dangerous!”
“Stop it!” said I, pressing my lips into her bosom. Branches and plumage stuck on our bodies. The stork’s nest was no longer what it was and became an open palm of a hand under the heaven, where two birds lived. Clear and simple. In love with each other unspoken and unthinkable. The quiet melancholy of their eternal journey and eternal faithfulness.Two birds who had to share a nest and a flight and not separate man and woman, between whom stands the stone wall of the family fortress, the fortress of friendship and occasional fear that such love can only hurt. Birds in a stork’s nest, but humans actually. Miday between wings and feet. Between the nest and the road. Between the machine and muscles of the wings. But it makes little difference! They loved each other.I saw it from the side. Like a stork on the threshold of autumn circling above its nest to bid farewell, my spirit rose on high.And then I saw two bodies intertwined in desperation. They desired to tear their skin and turn into something else. Something which would bring them happiness. Love, without perpetual meetings and partings. Without anything hidden. Without hysterically over-reaching oneself. Without memories of the past. Nothing but love. Irina once wanted to be a fish.As for me, I wanted to be the biblical snake which tempted Eve. We wished to be both demons and angels. Sometimes we did turn into all of these. It so happened even that we once were inhabitants of Atlantis.
Fleeing our forms and names, our essence of being human and our existence which defined us as lovers, fleeing from our own selves, we were actually on the way towards our own selves in fact. It was perhaps in our fantasy that we approached our own selves. Perhaps with fantasy we applied cosmetic to reality if actual objective reality exists at all. Or, we even re-created reality. We re-created ourselves just as the artist manipulates paint from the can and the blank canvas into a picture. We loved each other like paint and canvas. And that is why we could be storks and fish, knights and citizens of Atlantis…
But why did the nest shake so much? Why was it in danger of overturning at any moment? Was the link between us so shaky that giving free reign to our passions, we made the nest still more precarious? Why was I afraid to give her real stork wings? If I wasn’t, I would have painted them and they would have come to life.I can do whatever I want. I can work miracles but fear to perform them because the world must obey its own laws. Because miracles would have made the world lazy, devoid of passion, too beautiful to be true and too unprincipled to be a world at all. It would have sunk like the Atlantis where all things were possible. However I never know why I do not perform miracles when I want to. Only at this moment when I wasn’t thinking of anything, I was prepared for a single second to give my beloved the stork’s white wings because they would have imparted their splendour to her which would have changed her and even if she did not fly away from me , she would have changed and thus changed, I could have loved her the more.
“Papa Jan, we’ll fall down together with the nest! We must stop all this!”
“We’ll fall if we stop.”
“The nest is so high!”
“But surely you love it.”
“I love it… But I’m afraid!”
“Don’t you love being afraid?”
“I also fear love.”
“But you love.”
“And I love being afraid.”
“And I love you.”
“But the nest is shaking. We might destroy a family nest…”
These words pierced my heart like a dagger. I closed my eyes. I saw myself as a giant with an enormous hammer knocking on the walls of a fortress sunk in darkness. The walls collapse but the giant keeps on knocking at the towers. Frightened men women and children flee and some die under the rubble… I opened my eyes.From the stork’s flight I saw Irina and me making love in the shaking nest and the day is sunny and everything is so beatuiful. I am over her – an enormous beast seemingly crushing a bird but in fact caressing her most tenderly. Her mouth is open wide. Her nails are stuck in his back and she screams in between the timidly voiced apprehensive expressions of her love for him and of her genuine delight… The nest is shaking.
With my eyes closed , I see Materius at my door. His ironic smile pierces my heart.I am still alive and see that I am split in two from the waist down.Then I die and again become the giant who is hitting the fortress with his heavy hammer. In horror, people appeal to their gods, not understanding the reason for the gods’ rage which is not the rage of the gods but of the giant who has decided to destroy the fortress because inbuilt in it is the shadow of his beloved. To prevent destruction of the fortress, the most beautiful and most innocent maiden is built into its walls.Destined to eternal love and faithfulness amidst the cold stones which raise the fortress of being. The pain and the love of a man have made him a giant and now he keeps venting his anger… I opened my eyes. The nest had tilted like a ship which is to be destroyed by the waves any moment now.
The frightened storks circled round it. These birds are prepared to stake their lives in defence of their nest which they have built for their holiday but now they were afraid because they saw some other birds. Birs from another planet. Evil and more powerful. Loving each other, in fact.
“Stop it, Papa Jan, please, stop it… Go on don’t stop… Stop…” cried Irina and the sun was going west and everything around was becoming purple, sinister and ecstatic…
The nest kept tilting. The ship was overturning. The abyss was swallowing us…
“The nest is so high!”
“IF YOU ARE AFRAID OF FALLING DOWN YOU CANNOT CLIMB THE PEAKS!”
The peaks of spiritual delight, of the thrill and of risk.Even the peaks of sinking. And the peaks of life. And the mountain peaks. And the peaks of female breasts where passion is spiciest and from which it’s easiest to topple down.The family nest was collapsing and a whole world was being ruined with its collapse. Yielding to passion, bored with his quotidian existence, he was the giant who was destroying what he himself had erected in order to rid himself of his own nature. The family of storks, sad and frightened, were circling the nest while we, wild and fearful, deadly excited and overflowing with life, went on making love. The sun set and a moonless night enveloped us! The nest had miraculously survived when, tired, we managed to climb down the tree upon which the birds had built it.
“This night you gave me the storks’ white wings!”
“And I felt mine were black again. I’m glad the nest didn’t collapse.”
“And I am very, very glad, too. We had no right to risk it collapsing…”
We were sadly mute till we reached Tanya’s courtyard.The quiet melancholy seemed for a moment to melt away under the diffuse light from the windows of the neighbouring houses which lit the swing in the yard and the yellow flowers in the garden like a circus arena.It was all as in a fairy tale.
“The nest didn’t collapse after all…” Irina’s voice sounded naive.
I got very excited. The light melted the apocalyptic picture with the falling family nest and the castle destroyed by the giant. There remained only the swing in the midst of the golden garden and the diffuse innocent light from the neighbouring houses.
“Let’s swing for a while,” Irina said in Aurora’s voice.
I grabbed her like a baby in my arms and placed her on the swing. Then I gave it a push.
“Push me harder!” she shouted to me in Aurora’s capricious tone. “Harder and higher…”
I gave the swing a stronger push, then an even stronger and harder… The wind blew Irina’s dress up to her waist. I was aroused but preferred to keep for a longer time the innocent childish magic and went on swinging Irina.
“I love you Papa Jan!” her words echoed as she flashed by me. “And when I grow up I’ll marry you!”
Tears filled my eyes. Something was the matter with me. I was no longer aware where I was. Was I swaying on the swing of eternity enjoyed by a child in love with the adult man who waits for her to grow up and believes the little girl would one day marry him. Was I in the nest of destruction under the setting purple sun? In the gilt garden together with my beloved? Under the lights of the inquisitively peering windows?
In the country house of our friend Tanya? With Alice in Wonderland or with the Purple Harlot from the Apocalypse? With Aurora or Irina? With the girl or with the woman? With the literary image of the beloved or with that of flesh and blood? All things fused. Everything was a single entity and no matter how contradictory and self-negating it was, how absurd in its symbiosis it was a unity and existed in accord with itself. There was a single truth! I was with my beloved! With love! I was living with love!Tender like the caress of the sun welcoming the new born baby! Fatal like death! Wild like a pack of wolves!
I kept rocking the swing and it was a clock pendulum. A clock pendulum which kept driving us forward toward the unknown lot, towards a tragedy. Towards the fatal insights – cold swords in the hot flesh of the romantic maiden. The cradle was the Foulkault Pendulum! It was also the ebb and flow of emotions! Repentance and daring!All things in the endless tenderness of the diffuse light of the windows of the neighbouring houses . Tenderness in the face of which all else seems insignificant. Even war and death. Even the total impotence in the face of the world. Now all the world, feeble, was lying down, melted in the gilt flowers of Tanya’s garden…
The wind had rolled up Irina’s dress above her waist and I slowed down the rocking of the cradle. I took off her bikini. I pushed the cradle and stopped its sway towards me with my thighs. Then I again pushed it away, then again, and again. We were halting the flow of time with flesh penetrating flesh. We then repulsed each other and it again brought us back to the next touch, penetration, fusion of flesh in flesh… Then we climbed the cherry tree.We coated our bodies with cherries. We took cherries from each other’s mouth with our lips.At last, painted all over in cherry juice , we slided down the trunck and went on making love. We awoke under the pink dawn, soaking in cherry juice and spring air. The tall tree was visible , on which storks were making love now… Were they to bring us a baby some day?
I looked at the cradle. I was in possession of it already but I allowed it to become female. I did not need rock the pendulum and set going the clock mechanism. I had to leave Irina to remain her daughter’s younger sister. However, I had done the opposite, yet I was happy that way. In fact whenever one makes a choice one inevitably comes to regret one hadn’t made the opposite one.
I was on a plane to Pavel Banya. I no longer feared my memories and did not chase them away, rather, they were chasing ME. The clock-hand above my video became the clock-hand of the tower which in turn was turned into the pendulum-cradle… I had to experience everything all over once again in order to to undertsand or feel it again. I wanted to be ready for our rendezvous and when we would embrace once again the year of torment, like that spent inside the belly of the cow in expectation of imminently being torn apart by savage curs – that year – to be forgotten; to have gone away with the nightmarish night – the terrible dream I forgot as soon as I opened my eyes.
Some pop star or other was blaring from the radio. I changed the station. Another star, without knowing the word, was pretending to be a feminist with the song’s feminist lyrics. It was indeed by a woman, and a feminist at that. I was annoyed; I thought first of the hairs from my beard which I had stuck onto the genitals of the nude bodies I had painted while some nutty American female saw this as an expression of macho arrogance and shaved off her cunt to put a beard on my portrait. On top of it all her painting of me was not at all a felicitous art expression. I thought of another American feminist who had painted a table strewn with vaginas with knives and forks next to each of them… The male heart in most cases is capable rather of grabbing hold of a the knife and pierce with it his own flesh rather than cutting up the dish he has been served painted by her on her picture. At any rate that heart which had experienced the tragedy of separation and then found hope and after experiencing the thrilling days of loneliness it had embarked on the trail of memory in order to examine the value of love and horror.Then I took my vengeance on the American feminist by painting a picture evoking the Last Supper in which instead of the apostles the table was surrounded by skeletons and the dishes served on it were erect penises. Penises, not cocks or phalli. Phallus is a concept of philosophy and it is hardly possible to imagine a thoughtful cock or penis. Perhaps you already realize the difference… Maybe you now know what the difference could be…
I now thought of the picture I did for my great friend, the alleged boss of the Bulgarian mafia Ivo Karamanski. On the portrait I painted for him I had done a true phallus of a worthy man. Crucified, naked, as the only god with dark glasses. He was a connoisseur of female beauty. Even on his garvestone he was cast as a true gentleman, a cigar in mouth.
The memory made me merry, not sad. I smiled but was annoyed, too. To love means sometimes you have to fight but not be in permanent warfare with the opposite sex. I switched off the radio and played the cassette with a selection of Wagner pieces.That is truly warfare! But not between the sexes but with the spirit… It is not in the least romantic to shoot to kill to that tune in Vietnam, or to paint trite, banal, provocative pictures which accuse the one who loves you of ferocity! It’s quite another thing to fly to the tune of this music but not along the highway but along the course of the clock-hand. Towards your beloved… That is Wagner precisely. That is romanticism. All the other interpretations of it are banality and escape from one’s own depression, putting it upon other people’s shoulders.
September was as it always had been. The first days of the month evoked those of August. It resembled Irina’s whisper; her voice which I had heard two days before over the phone. I was standing in the room. The room in which I wished to end my life. The room which agitated me into painting the thirteen pictures, covering – it seems – my entire life in all its fullness. The room, which at the time did not become my sarcophagus, now, without Irina, did resemble a sarcophagus. Several days before another sarcophagus had collapsed. But not at all at once. There were quite a few blasts till at last one of Bulgaria’s “Wonders” collapsed. The symbol of totalitarianism – Georgi Dimitrov’s Mausoleum.
Long before Irina and I parted for quite a while, we decided to desecrate it. As often happened, at first the idea seemed to her crazy and vulgar… Then she agreed to my suggestion. I opened the book “Shop for Ivory Towers” at the appendix featuring “journalistic collages”. Ona one pedestal I was pictured posing on three photographs. As a monument of three forms of state government, viz., “Fascism”, “Communism”, ” “Democracy”… Long may they be remembered. I lived under the last system of state government. The empire of art and beauty… Fascism I saluted with a “Heil!”
In honour of communism I had lifted my healthy fist of socialist realism, ready to build the new system and pounce upon the imperialist enemy.
At “Democracy” I had raised my hand but in a reverse “V” sign, i.e., not meaning victory but “up yours”.
Please understand me: I am not in sympathy with totalitarian systems of government but the book came out in 1995. Just then many pyramids rose and fell, not Egyptians, of course but financial. Mafia bosses darted in luxurious cars along city streets shooting at each other with guns and pistols. Instead of lying down in search of escape from bullets, passers-by would fearlessly react raising their fingers in the “up-yours” sign at the thugs which was my sign for “democracy”. It would have been no surprise if some granny or other produced a grenade from her shopping-bag with potatoes and hurled it at a passing Rolls-Royce. In no time lavish suburban houses rose like mushrooms after rain, resembling Gothic castles or residences of Hollywood stars. On the day after one could usually read in the papers that someone had thrown a bombshell at them but if you chanced to pass by the building where the “grenade” had exploded you could see that the explosive device had apparently been enriched with plutonium but it was more likely a question of several kilograms of some other stuff.Other such buildings turned out to have been illegally constructed and the excavators stood on the site for a week or two and then things went on the opposite way.
Just then the black mask of the mafia changed its advertising aspect. Insurance stickers came into fashion. In one word -great fun. Well, I had nothing to complain of. A mafia boss would often visit my atelier asking with a broad smile:
“Are you Papa Jan,eh?”
After I assured him Papa Jan was myself, he would ask me what was that stuff in my atelier that would suit best his lounge room. I answered in all honesty as I imagined things. Then he asked the pivotal question:
“How much green stuff would you want for it?”
My pictures at the time sold for as much as a thousand dollars. After swearing in exasperation at what seemed to him too high a price, such a man would produce a wad of dollars and count them. Quite often on the evening of the same day quite different type of man might visit me. Refined, exquisite, with genteel speech and evidently knowledgable of art. Without swearing he attemtped to bargain but soon gave it up and counted the sum much in the manner of the previous visitor.Life was simply fun like a “V” sign but not at my expense. There was no way I would be anything but in a joking mood, despite the earnest ambitions of “The Shop for Airy Towers” with its “elitist” preface by my friend Rozenkreuzer. Damn it!There are so many serious things that only laughter can save a man from self-destruction… And I am an artist, after all, and not a statesman, as luck would have it. A year after that Irina and myself, looking through the book (we loved reading some passages from my life; she discovered things she could not have lived thr`ough and which she wanted to experience in a man’s way, like me) we paused at the collages and our thoughts dwelled on the totalitarian symbols.
The night was humorous like an explosive of enriched plutonium and a shattered pyramid. I fancied making love in the Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov. I have already said what she first thought of my idea but I insisted:
“Despite those times which we unfortunately remember. When socialism meant more than a beloved; a party secretary – more than a lover. When we were indoctrinated that we ought to build stable families, in order to build sound society, we still had the strength to ‘simply make love’. As if we were doing it inside the mausoleum of the leader”, with these words I positively killed the leader!
Our longings were replaced my dogmas and sense of duty.Our emotions were devoured by monstrously hyped-up fictions. Our bodies marched along the route charted in the plan of socialist construction. And yet they felt, they rebounded from their chartered course. They tore up with nails their walls and their chests. We repeatedly met and made love. Not exactly the two of us but others just like us. At the altar of the dead but deified monster of the heavy fist. In front of the made-up face of the wreckage. Like predatory cats, having torn their trainer to pieces, we dashed into each other’s arms in order to feel that true love can be discovered only in a free heart. Although we, men, were depressed by the suggestion of another kind of masculinity. Although women had always to keep in their houses and flats heroes with hands of iron and not lovers with tender fingers, there was love after all…
In the same evening there was a jazz concert at the Mausoleum. I had to look after the appearance of the models.When the main event was over, Irina and I remained behind in the room with the sarcophagus. It was pitch dark. We lit torches and newspapers. Dimitrov’s body had long been moved to the central city graveyard… We made love in the niche where the sarcophagus had stood! We made love in the marble embrace of death and recent history. In what remained of the desolate fortress of a recent and tragic past. For an instant we felt like mummies. We came to life in the sarcophagus itself to bring it back to life! The more I talked the more I was absorbed in my own words which gave vent to my imagination and I realized how right I was. It was to be a real travel back in time when genuine emotions would have been a crime had we made love at the Mausoleum… And so – half joking, half intoxicated with the romance and not without some necrophilic excitement we made love inside the Mausoleum itself. Several times. I ejaculated on every side… The month of Sepetember was like no other month.Irina’s room resembled a sarcophagus, while that other one – the one we defiled that night – was not at all easily destroyed. There was a great uproar then. For several days on end a bunch of nitwits with their leader Bakurdjiev at the head, who was instantly nicknamed Bucky the Bomb tried to destroy the Mausoleum by detonations and yet it still stood. The far left enjoyed the immortality of their symbol. Professionals gave expert advice as to how the demolition should be as safe as possible for the surrounding area. Some murmured that “both the construction and the demolition were sheer waste of money.” I enjoyed its firmness though I was not on the far left. How could they attempt to demolish the building which I had splashed all over with my high-quality sperm juices. Yes, how, indeed! My sperm had fortified the building so much that a whole week of demolition work could not destroy the mausoleum. I had to publicize my patent for a solidifier for the benefit of the “builders of the new concrete edifice of democracy”. It had not been in vain that, standing on the pedestal of glory after the publication of my first book “Shop for Ivory Towers” I moulded with my hands and arote with my conscience “Fascism”… “Communism”… “Democracy”… May their memory live forever! And the so called “democrats” not noly destroy and privatize – they have turned our country into stagnant morass. They could at least have built a public toilet on the demolished site. Thus, the Bulgarian people could at least relieve itself of the great volume of cold water after the vain promises.
It is not at all easy to demolish a social system under which people made love even despite so many bans!
I am once again facing the clock above the video in my studio. The rain has stopped. Now I recall that while painting the “girl in the rain” I took occasional breaks. I went to lie in bed.I unplugged my telephone and read the poems of the woman I still loved and whom I still wished to forget. “Balchik”… “Selistar”.
“Oh, expanse, pierced by the weeping of snakes,
smeared magic, wallowing in windy recognition,
having crumpled its might and its rush towards the shores…
On the other side of the jaw –
emerald, fragrant and simple-minded, like a cure
in which there is no meaning and danger
of a scanadalous refinement
even when I interfere with the Genesis
rowing the boat of the procession of mourning
or we sob with the relics of piers along what’s left of dry land
– that is the body and the meaning.
The unfathomable crescendos of sand,
rows of rock overgrown with compassion.
A satanic wall of meaning, the escaped reflection.
The huge and venerable shadow
in which time crumples us.
Sapphire nests of summer,
casting out the waves of the breast-like purple refuse
of the dizzy and transparent dusk,
in which figs and coriander
gleam yellow, at the same distance…”
Splandid poetry written by a splendid woman – Irina… I closed my eyes… Barefoot, we were running across puddles in the town of Balchik. But not about the time of the events with the balloons. I did not even recall the exact time and what exactly was the reason for our visit there…
“IF YOU ARE TRYING TO RECALL SOMETHING, FORGET THAT WHICH PREVENTS RECALLING…”
“IF YOU ARE LONELY ON A RAINY NIGHT, TRY TO RECALL SOMETHING SO THAT YOU WOULD NO LONGER BE LONELY!”
“IF YOU WISH TO BE ALONE ON A RAINY NIGHT , START COUNTING THE RAINDROPS AND DO NOT FALL ASLEEP! IN THAT WAY YOU WILL FEEL A PART OF THE RAINDROPS AND THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM THAT YOU CANNOT BUT FORGET YOUR OWN SELF!ONLY THUS ONE CAN BE TRULY ALONE!”
Inspired by Irina’s poetic genius I wrote the poem “My Confession” which begins thus:
I felt I had to plug in the telephone. I wanted change. I had not wished to operate the telephone in order to indulge completely in memories of Irina. To recall what we were looking for in Balchik when we were running barefoot, splashing across puddles. What could have happened had the telephone been unplugged then!? What could have happened had I then succumbed to nostalgia!? What, indeed!?
Maybe I could have heard her voice at another time and she would have remained for long without a presence in “The Gallery of Memories”! Perhaps she would have forever even been left without a presence in “The Gallery of Memories”!? A winning trump card. A turn of the dial… What were we doing barefoot in Balchik in the midst of autumn?
Oh, no! I had to remember! I did not want anyone distracting me by a ring on my phone and I failing to recall what exactly had occurred that September or October in Balchik…
“Oh, no Papa Jan!” heard I the voice of the rainy girl from my canvases… Or was that the noise of raindrops on the window pane? “Do not sink again in “The Gallery of Memories” – you know by now how hard you can get out of it.”
My hand reached for the telephone link. I did not plug it in. I kept on painting the girl in the rain and cherishing memories of Irina.
“I want it all just like it was then!” Irina was lying beside me and whispering. “Just like then and us with the balloons! It was raining then, too, and you were painting memories on the window-panes”
“But it is now autumn, Irina, and it is a long time since we staged our exhibition in the air! Long time since then! We cannot bring back the past!
“Why not? Isn’t time circular?”
I, too, wished to bring back that night of wild erotic passion. I wished to see Irina holding two live fish in her hands, moaning under my body. I wanted us to swim and observe the group sex of the dolphins. I wanted us then to risk drowning and be saved by those very dolphins and to scribble my signature on the ass-hole of Mitch Buchanan. Well, I would have preferred it to be on C.J.’ ass but… They did not matter. They were mere decorations upon the huge arch that was us. The huge arch of eternity… I wished us to be found half-dead next morning, naked on the beach and to provide us with clothes so that no one would get a bad name…
Drops of rain knocked on the window panes. Birds flew in the morning light and we enjoyed them but what was left to us now were only the sad raindrops. Could I bring that summer back? At sunrise we were in Balchik yet it was not that same Balchik.It seemed a snake which had changed its skin. It had dropped it on my pictures and in its fresh skin was somewhat sad and defenceless yet childishly merry despite its melancholy. Barefoot, we started walking its streets. Our feet dallied in the puddles. We lay down in them opposite one another and our feet touched. She unbuttoned her blouse and let the rain kiss her breasts. I was jealous and aroused. Aroused and jealous. We attempted to swim but did not reach as far as that other time.We felt cold and hastened to find shelter in the bungalow we had rented. We made love at the fireside and the reptile which had once again changed its skin and on whose back we had ensconced ourselves was leading us into the present and that present was again the car and the way back to Sofia…
“Irina, it wasn’t like that other time, was it?
“Oh, yes, it was, but then we were the bungalow ourselves and the fireplace was that which is inside us, tormenting us…”
“You have become sadder of late. Why so?”
“You have been asking sadder questions of late. Why so?””
“Are we exhausted?”
I was painting the girl in the rain and felt tangled in the cobeweb of “The Gallery of Memories”… Suddenly I remembered that the telephone had been unplugged. I simply could not live forever in this “Gallery of Memories”… I again plugged in the telephone and once more started reading the poems. I kept thinking of her , though with an operating telephone this time. just then she rang me up… Minutes before that the telephone had been out of operation!
“IF DESTINY HELPS YOU DON’T BE UNDER THE ILLUSION THAT YOU UNDERSTAND IT!”
The telephone rang. It was one of my young art managers who sounded very worried.
“Pa-pi-pa-pipapa… the fat is in the fire! A woman from America has declared war on you! She is awaiting you for a duel!”
What!? What?!… I had been dreaming of Balchik and thinking of the splendid telephone ring when all of a sudden the telephone rang horribly and put an end to all that… It stopped me in my track.
“A few days ago you made a slip of the tongue to a newspaper man to the effect that you had copulated with Irina inside the mausoleum and that your sperm cemented it so fast that it escaped demoliton for a whole week…”
“Oh, damn! That old pal of mine! She would never tire of harassing me about my machismo. Was that her way of advertising herself? Hardly. She, too, was quite well known, although her name always is on the tip of my tongue just as she perhaps desires to lick what’s left of me on the mausoleum and that makes her harangue me!”
“Well, that was a joke. E-mail her and explain that I did not in any way mean to offend any woman’s sensibility…”
“But she has already challenged you to a duel. Last time you sent a rocket into her back yard and she has been enraged since then…”
“Well, where do I meet her?”
“You have an invitation to her exhibition in Atlantic City and…”
He faltered. Something upset him very much and I guessed I was going to laugh throughout that day.
“Okey, what’s the matter?”
“She’s done a paintint of you fishin, you trousers are torn at the behind and on your ass is tattooed the Statue of Freedom which holds a flabby penis instead of a torch.”
“It’s called a dick!”
“But, Papa Jan…”
“Don’t worry, Bibili!” I said. “I’m going no way near Atlantic City. I don’t visit exhibitions which I find pornographic.Incidentally, I’ve never seen till now a grosser insult to the Statue of Freedom, which holds a flabby penis instead of a torch. However I accept the challenge to a duel …”
“IF YOU ARE CHASED BY A FEMALE INTELLECTUAL WHO IS SEXUALLY UNSATISFIED, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PLEASE HER BUT TRY TO ENRAGE HER! THIS IS THE SIMILARITY BEYWEEN WOMAN AND PHILOSOPHY! PROVOKE NO END BUT DO NOT YIELD TO CARESS!”
“IF YOU ARE IN LOVE, YOU CANNOT ENGAGE IN WAR BETWEEN THE SEXES, YET YOU CAN PLAY AT WAGING SUCH A WAR!IT IS ENJOYABLE AND EXCITING, PROVIDED IT IS NO MORE THAN A GAME!”
My teeth gripped the brush. I caressed the canvas just as I would have caressed my female fellow-painter who was an enraged feminist. Tenderly and briefly, so as to arouse her but not to satisfy her… Then I – grabbed the other brush and smeared the paints over my belly.As I had grown fat recently, it was fit for a palette. Then I used my penis instead of a brush and painted “The Dance of Salome”.I need calm the god-fearing reader, however – Salome had the face of that feminist with whom I exchanged challenges from time to time.She was dancing not with the head of St John the Baptist but with that of Georgi Dimitrov. Naturally, Herod-Antipa was a transvestite and Herodiada was the Statue of Freedom…
“I have the honour to a duel with you!” I wrote that in Bulgarian – let her look it up in dictionaries if she is so well-informed.Into the bargain,I used the same instrument with which I had painted my pictur to write my message to her. I split my sides with laughter, as I imagined her tracing the inscription with her finger in an attempt to read my “chivalrous greeting.” Had it not been so funny , would have been aroused at the sight of what imagined.
“IF YOU LOVE, THE WAR BETWEEN THE SEXES IS MERELY A GAME BUT IF YOU ARE TRULY IN LOVE YOU ARE AT WAR BECAUSE LOVE SOMETIMES IS ALSO A WAR AND NOT A GAME AT WAR AT THAT”
The clock kept ticking, bringing me closer to her. The one infinitely near and infinitely far. A second is a dew-drop and pearly frenzy. When you are waiting for somebody and when you are with one whom you desire, it is both brief and infinite. A single plugging and unplugging of the telephone can split it in two. The second you reach for a random choice in which there are no bearings for good or evil, truth or falsehood, beauty or ugliness, acceptable or unreachable, is also infinite like the amorous second of expectation. A dew-drop but in fact an ocean vaster than the pitiful one separating me from my beloved because our voices were hands which were intertwined. The words were kisses which refreshed the relationship. Now I had only to fight the huge dew-drops and splash across the Atlantic ocean. To splash across it with just a pair fisherman’s boots on my feet. I laughed. The clock kept ticking. I fell into a reverie and the seconds turned into an ant heap. The snow was melting at the bottom While the snow-capped top, not the one of the lonely Zarathustra but of Irina and Papa Jan kept emitting silver and golden rays of light like a halo round itself. Within the halo our hearts were beating and our bodies yearned for each other. Irina was once again her daughter’s younger sister and Papa Jan was an grumbling adult who preferred going down by the safer chair lift instead of by the nylon stockings which Irina had got ready in her knapsack. Before that we again made love and left our imprints. Spring had come and we had no illusion that those imprints would remain even a few days even before they became a jelly of mud…
“Like my brain when the demon in me took it away…” I murmurred.
“What did you say?”
“The imprints we left will soon become a jelly of mud.”
“Well, what of that?” she asked me with an anxious smile. Maybe she wondered what was the matter with me.
“Oh, nothing. I was thinking of those paintings from before the winter… The last ones before the winter set in.”
“Oh, don’t talk to me aboutthose five thousand I painted. Even suicide isn’t a more narcissistic act than that.You could have died but didn’t wish for it out contempt for death itself even. Such behaviour would be shocking even to Schopenhauer.”
“I didn’t mean that but all that followed it. The paintings…”
“Yet they remind me of the things you did before you painted them!”
What she meant was simply the door. There were two doors and each had a mysterious hieroglyph. A mysterious hieroglyph made of intertwined snakes. They suffered and felt passion The snakes were thirteen Between their teeth they clutched six bullets each.On their coloured backs I saw my dissoled memories , the palettes and the souls and on the tips of the bullets – a sparkling drop… Dew. A tear. Sweat. Blood. Sperm. Hoar-frost. Snowflake. The snakes protruded their tongues.Not all of them were forked. Some were split into threes, others even into thirteen branches. Down them flowed coloured mucus and lava…
“Stop it!” shouted the scared child, her daughter’s younger sister…
“Lava and mucus which poured down the snakes’ throats and suffocated them. When they breathed out they pushed them out, turning them into foam. Foam in which a man was swimming, maybe me or maybe Adam. Foam which poured down the aroused breasts of a woman, maybe yourself or maybe Eve. The snakes had human lungs and mucus – an infernal brew, lava, molten gold and lead, plasma and verbal controtions filled them and they were suffocating. They were throwing out the brimstone and it belched out of their mouths as the same foam which you delighted in and in which I was drowning.While I was talking I had unwittingly pressed her neck between my palms. Like a caress – but at this moment I felt a desire for my fingers to press her still closer. The picture was perfect. The skill was superb Love had reached its sublimeness I had to destroy her so that she would remain forever as beautiful as this.
I had forgotten those doors. One led directly toward death. The other – toward an enlightenmen, supreme achievement and murder, imprisonment and slow death. No! I would smash my head into the metal door of the cell in which I was serving my life sentence.One quickly led toward the infinite. The other, passing slowly through all the circles of Hell, would get me to Paradise before I would lose even that witha single clutching of my hands, in an instant.
A girl unknown to me is burning her painting in her attic studio, because she already thinks them perfect… A female psycopath is attempting to blow up a thirteen-storey block of flats because she thinks the act is a perfect picture…A broken tree, a split atom and a product of my sinful brain. Unexpected harvest… A man is clutching in his palms the neck of his beloved and his fingers are the mysterious hieroglyphs upon the two doors. They will shrink at any moment in a passionate thrill. A single second splits the instant in two. An invisible lightning, flashing in the sky. An angel’s sword descends and again there are two doors…
“Despite the pain the snakes smiled mysteriously. Ironically like Rozenkreutzer secret…” I went on, though the tension had passed and I felt infinite delight in life itself.
I was still somewhat frightened of myself and of that which I had experienced but it all seemed insignificant now… “The peaks are breasts!” the grown-up Irina said to me. “Let us slide down the Venus hill to the valley of the mystery out of which the entire sinful city has sprung up…”
She uttered it sweetly and sensually unaware how close to death she had been just a moment before.
“Soon our imprints will become amorphous jelly! As in the painting “The Demon in Me”
“Why do you upset me Papa Jan?”
I embraced her tenderly around her waist and kissed her, biting her lower lip.
“I didn’t want to upset you, Irina.You are the first to whom I can say that those paintings led me to a peak higher, more snowy and harder to reach than the one we are on now. It is beyond my soul.I was lucky to decipher correctly the hieroglyph which opened to me the path towards it. Climbing to it I was exhausted and was on the metaphysical threshold when I came across three icy statues. Three beautiful icy women dancing. Although they were nothing but frozen statues they were still passionate. Although dead they radiated life. They were the beauty we leav behind ourselves.They inspired me to go beyond my physical and psychic potential beyond the limit of all conditions of my will-power. And I went on climbing. I heard voices coming from below. Were they voices I loved or were they voices of “wise sages” who did not understand the wisdom of my insane daring? I kept climbing and saw another icy figure. That was myself…”
“Are you building castles in the air or are you speaking to me in parables?”
“Oh no! I am remembering all I had forgotten. So… The icy figure was myself but I bypassed it and did not turn into ice but kept on climbing up -” Here I fell silent.
“Please, go on!”
“Then I saw the cat with two hearts!The cat was chewing one of them with her ferocious teeth and the other was beating inside her body.It was an enormous white cat. Bigger than a tiger. A cat with golden eyes. It guarde the road. It would not attack me if I did not go on climbing along the path. If I did not go on I would freeze or I had to climb down to the room where I was again to look for the pistol, the bottle of alcohol and the drugs. I stepped forward and the cat ran away. I realize now that that cat had been my own fear of my own passion and of the present moment…”
“And you went on upward?”
“Then I saw a huge icy building. It was surprising that someone had managed to build sucha castle at such height. It is impossible even given the latest technologies…”
“But that was a hallucination. It needn’t have been cause by the alcoholand the drugs. Sometimes it occurs when there is a powerful inspiration inside you…”
I went on paying no attention to her words:
“The doors were frozen… ‘Was it all real? Had I experienced all that at all or was I hallucinating?A moment ago I nearly killed my beloved. Now I saw weird things! I am a sick man
– a very sick man….”
I dismissed those thoughts. I don actually know whether the thrills were due to the cold or to my horror at me being a dangerous schizophrenic.
“The doors were so frozen with ice that I could not go inside the building. I started banging the doors with my fists but very soon my hands became amorphous jelly. i started banging my head against them till my skull broke and my brain remained stuck on them like the mysterious hyeroglyphs I had seen.Then I uttered something. I do not remember what but the ice on the doors melted and I now entered safe and sound in the lobby of an enormous libarary.However I could not melt the ice on the books and read any of them.I uttered all sorts of things. I made inscriptions on the covers of the books with my warm blood. I kissed them fervently but the pages did not open under the ice of the covers. Then I climbed to the dome of the library and it turned out that that was the Peak The peak of all peaks. Where the imprints on the snow do not melt but remain forever. Although I was on peak higher than Everest, I breathed freely and felt warm. Although I painted with frozen fingers from them flew paint which recreated the nightmare and the and my brainwave and that is how I produced “The Demon in Me.”
I was holding my amorphous brain in my hands. That is how looked on that painting. Listen to me, Irina:
“IF THE DEMON DEFEATS YOU WHEN YOU ARE ON YOUR PEAK – WELL, IT’S TIME YOU DESENDED TO THE VALLEYS!”
“There, you can at last sculpt plastic figures out of the amorphous jelly…”
“And are we there now?”
We stood hand in hand. The passions had turned the brains into jelly.Our eyes were fixed on each otherand with the tools of the irises we created plastic figures from the jelly of the brains.Beautiful plastic figures. Hand in hand , naked girls danced round a mysterious obelysk…
“If the demon defeats you when you are upon your peak it is time to descend to the velley and come into my room, won’t you?”
“While you are sleeping I will uncover you and make love to you.”
“I’m going to keep my eyes closed… Listen, Papa Jan it’s time to climb down… Here we’ll get frozen… The demon has long been victorious over us!”
“It’s spring now, so it’s not all that bad…”
“Spring is no time for glory but for games.”
We both laughed but I was pressing her hand and looked straight in her eyes.
On the roof of the library I went on painting with my frozen finger upon the ice which was melting.It was melting and acquiring the shape of my image. It melted like wax and my finger, though frozen, was warmer than the roof on which I was painting. To it, my finger was a flame. That’s how the second picture was produced – “The Candle Man”. Listen Irina:
“IF YOU MELT, IT’S NOT BECAUSE YOUR BODY IS MADE OF WAX BUT BECAUSE YOUR PASSIONS ARE HOTTER THAN IT”
“Like the spring of our imprints”
“Like the spring summoning us down in order to dissolve us in sweetness.”
I kissed her tenderly instead of nodding agreement.
I kept painting and my finger was getting hotter and hotter and the library roof started melting. It melted and collapsed at my feet. And all the books were opened in front of me. They were open at each one of their pages. And in an instant I read all the lines in all the languages. Tragedy, sentimentality, comedy, endless search for the truth, philosophical banalities, scholastic intoxication, lifelong confessions, investigations for their own sakes, no end of phantasies, countless verbal murders, an infinite emptiness of the word… contradictions no end…
But when read in an instant all books in all the languages they were written were not in contradiction but illumined the Country of “Daylight”. Listen Irina:
“IF YOU WANT TO READ ALL BOOKS YOU MUST DO IT WITH EYES CLOSED”
“Under closed eyes, they are written out before they are created” Irina added. “I am cold, let us climb down…” As if not paying attention to her words, I went on telling her my story, holding her hand:
“Then I saw that once upon a time there had been ice but there had also been fire all the time; there is ice still and it will stay forever but there has also been fire and fire there is still and thus it will be always. And each pulsation and thrillof our is the amplitude between fire and ice. Pulsation witha velocity thousands of millions of times greater than the speed of light and motionless as a God. A clock hand stopped stil a minute before midnight and two persons gripped by this pulsation start the mechanism going. Closing the eyes and reading all books, I suddenly opened wide my extra-sensory eye with which I did not experience emotion but living together…”
“You are crazy You are man of genius. Let’s go crazier still than you were that night. Let’s blow up the cathedral or – better still – the Bulgarian parliament, let us enter the crater of an erupting volcano, or jump just as we are from a bridge so that you can get inspiration…” Her whole body was shaking, my madness had gripped her too and from her the craze returned back to myself.
I saw myself flying at breakneck speed along the streets, trampling the passers-by. I saw myself emptying my revolver at six strangers passing me by…
“Or…” she nearly uttered a destructive fantasy.
“Let’s simply kiss I called my picture depicting my supersensory eye “Daylight”
As if she had not heard me she continued:
“Or shall we, both of us, experience this night. Both of us in the same way you experienced it on your own”
“It’s impossible for both of us live through it again. It was a night of loneliness!”
“But aren’t we two lonely here on the metaphysical threshold?”
“Let us simply kiss!”
The snowdrops which had stuck on our lips melted.
“And when the library collapsed completely as I had read all the books and had melted it on the live coals of its own knowledge and false grandeur another and higher peak was unveiled before me…”
“We’ll freeze in the spring!” Irina’s voice now sounded frightened.
A few moments before she had wished to perorm most drastic fenzy abominations, now that she saw the danger, became horrified.
The weather is getting fouler. Indeed. I felt the ice under our skins. I went into a reverie. It was dusk and the weather was anyway getting spoiled but I wished to see and experience again all my visions. What was that? Death-bed hallucinations of a trembling mind , sickened by the dangerous proximity of beauty on the threshold of freezing to death or was it indeed so beautiful that we were reluctant to climb down?I observed the horror in her eyes, yet I kept holding her hand and telling her:
“At first it was not that clearly visible to me.The library did not melt like snow on the first spring sun-rays. It doesn’t melt like a candle of wax. It was like a fire-dancer, dancing on the live coals of its own knowledge and hollow grandeur. It took away the power of the fire and became fire itself… Before my eyes live coals, vapour and poisonous smoke given out by the spiritual food written on some of the books prevented me from seeing the peak Finally, however, I saw it and started walking towards it. It was high and steep. It was Nature’s erection. The painting I called “The Eternal Phallus”. Before getting at it I had feeling of having possessed its strength. And I saw you as an icy statue on top of it. Listen, Irina:
“IF YOU ARE A WOMAN YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR THIS PEAK ALL THE TIME BUT FEEL THE URGE TO LOWER YOURSELF BEFORE IT! TO LIE DOWN UNDER IT! BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE PASSION OF ICE THAT GIVES BIRTH TO THE WHEAT BUT THE FERTILE PLAIN!’
“Let’s go down, please!
“And then, having felt the power of that peak I decided with its energy to penetrate the lower plain. To slip down into it and delve deep in its flesh, where my memories were. And then I saw countless figures of snow, melting down.I saw a melting fortress, melting images of the past,a melting pretty nude who resembled one of the paintings of my collection from the time when I wasn’t yet painting but was a patron of the arts, I saw the melting friends, the melting Death-Woman, the melting living and dead figures of snow. They were turning into jelly and I could in no way prevent the coming of spring which was killing them and when it did arrive I came out of the winter which is “The Gallery of Memories”. That was what I saw before I painted the “Shop for Airy Towers”… Listen to me Irina:
“IF YOU LIVE ONLY WITH MEMORIES YOU LIVE ONLY AMONG FIGURES OF SNOW BUT THE SEASONS CHANGE AND THOSE FIGURES WILL MELT! INSTEAD OF GRIEVING OVER THEM, ENJOY THE SPRING!”
Irina was no longer listening to my messages. She was transported maybe by my words , or perhaps by the coming White Death! I didn’t let go of her hands. I felt aroused as if we were making love. In the temple of my “Shop for Airy Towers”. In”The gallery of Memories” where she might not find an exit.
“And then frozen I saw “The Last Emperor”. The ice was purple and the emperor had my face. It was calm but under it was hidden the madness of authority. Of the unshakable power of art… Listen to me Irina:
“IF YOU ARE POSSESSED BY THE MADNESS OF POWER, YOU CANNOT BE THE LAST EMPEROR! THE FIRST EMPEROR THOUGHT HE WAS THE LAST!”
In fact the message of my painting is different. Quite different!
Irina was asleep in my embrace.I had difficulty opening my stiff jaws to utter the words whose echo reverberated in the stillness of the snow and tore off the snowflakes from the nearby trees, yet I felt warm. I felt Irina’s heart falling asleep upon mine…
And then I saw thirteen memorial stones of dead mountain-climbers who had attempted to climb the peak then – at the most inappropriate time in the most inappropriate way… They had played “Poker with Death”.
“TO CLIMB THE PEAK OF GLORY AND GRANDEUR IS TO PLAY POKER WITH DEATH! IT IS EXCITING BECAUSE OF THE HIGH STAKES, YET THE GAIN IS ALWAYS INADEQUATE! YOU WILL CONTINUE PLAYING THE VICIOUS GAME TILL FINALLY WHAT REMAINS OF YOU IS YOUR MEMORIAL STONE , WHOSE INSCRIPTION IS READ ONLY BY THE FEW WHO ARE KEEN ON THE SAME GAME! TO WARN THEM, PERHAPS! OR MAYBE TO CHALLENGE THEM!”
We were enveloped in ice from head to toe and each word cost me a frantic effort…
And then I longed for the valley but I had climbed too high and had reached too far upward for me to be able to return and harvest the wheat I had once sown. Frozen, I thought I was embracing my beloved while she – also frozen – was dying in my embrace. But I was not embracing my beloved – I was embracing my own madness and passion. I could not go down because I had become a statue of ice myself. I had a vision of the valley below as a broken tree; a split atom; the fruit of knowledge on a broken skull. I dreamt of harvest but I could not live to see it because I left the valley at an unsuitable time in order to play “Poker with Death”… Thousand of paintings streamed out of my skull.
“IF YOU SOW WHEAT, BE WITH THEM AT HARVEST TIME! THE DEVIL TEMPTS YOU TO TAKE THE SHORTEST ROAD, WHICH WILL TURN OUT TO BE INFINITELY LONG.”
“Are you listening to me, Irina?…” she did not answer. “Are you listening to Papa Jan?”
I was not listening to myself. I was lost in reverie… And then I saw “The Phoenix-bird – Past, Present and Future”. It was rising from the ashes… I was frozen, yet enveloped in flames. I was coming out of “The Gallery of Memories”, in order to feel the still beating warm heart of Irina next to mine and I saw many doors, countless doors. Doors without hieroglyphs. Wide open doors and wide female embraces… I felt like a musician from the “Titanic” who being swallowed by the icy ocean, the bow slipping from his hand, utters:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have been honoured to play for you this evening…”
We were dying…
“IF THERE IS LOVE, IT WILL BE REBORN FROM ITS ASHES LIKE THE PHOENIX-BIRD!’
“But what ashes, Papa Jan, when we are steeped in ice?” These words came from Irina’s lips and enlivened me for an instant but she was again silent and I felt the even more cruel embrace of the ice again. And then I saw “The Palette in my Grave!” They wept and I wanted to make them laugh; their tears were those of happiness but they did not give me aesthetic delight. The worms gave me a hand and accepted me in their community. We were to have a jolly time together. If those above us did not feel like grieving for us we were to be merry on their behalf, as well.
“IF YOU BURY SOMETHING WITH YOU , TRY THAT IT SHOULD BE THE GRIEF FOR YOU! DO NOT LEAVE
Then the dead sorceress descended like a halo over us. Her once blind eyes could now see…
“I have painted you!” I said to her.
“Didn’t I tell you, my boy?”smiled she. “You are sinful but you love each other and it is early for you to leave this world…”
Was I having hallucinations?!
“Devil take it!”
“Don’t blespheme!” she told me sternly, yet tenderly.
“What’s going to happen between us, tell me! She’s sleeping and won’t hear!”
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